Date of Award

2017

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Natural Resources

First Advisor

Anthony W. D'Amato

Abstract

Disturbance events affect forest composition and structure across a range of spatial and temporal scales, and forest development may differ after natural, anthropogenic, or compound disturbances. Following large, natural disturbances, salvage logging is a common yet controversial management practice around the globe. While the short-term impacts of salvage logging have been studied in many systems, the long-term effects remain unclear. Further, while natural disturbances create many persistent and unique microsite conditions, little is known about the long-term influence of microsites on forest development. We capitalized on over eighty years of data on stand development following the 1938 hurricane in New England to provide the longest known evaluation of salvage logging impacts, as well as to highlight developmental trajectories for eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis)-white pine (Pinus strobus) forests under a variety of disturbance histories. Eight decades following disturbance, there were no differences in current overstory composition between areas that were logged, hurricane disturbed, or hurricane disturbed and salvage logged, but white pine declined across most sites. In contrast, structural characteristics remain distinct between the three management histories. In the unsalvaged area, the diversity of microsites and the coverage of uprootings and pits influenced overstory tree composition, diversity, and structural characteristics. These findings underscore the long-term influence of salvage logging on forest development and the importance of natural disturbance-mediated microsite conditions on tree species growth and survival. Future salvage logging efforts should consider these impacts and provide a greater range of unsalvaged areas across the landscape to maintain these important structural legacies over the long term.

Language

en

Number of Pages

84 p.

Available for download on Saturday, September 15, 2018

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