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Brian Palik

Concern over global environmental change and associated uncertainty has given rise to greater emphasis on fostering resilience through forest management. We examined the impact of standard silvicultural systems (including clearcutting, shelterwood, and selection) compared with unharvested controls on tree functional identity and functional diversity in three forest types distributed across the northeastern United States. Sites included the Argonne, Bartlett, and Penobscot Experimental Forests located in Wisconsin, New Hampshire, and Maine, respectively. We quantified functional trait means for leaf mass per area, specific gravity, maximum height, height achieved at 20 years, seed mass, drought tolerance, shade tolerance,...
Abstract (from Journal of Applied Ecology): Increasing heat and aridity in coming decades is expected to negatively impact tree growth and threaten forest sustainability in dry areas. Maintaining low stand density has the potential to mitigate the negative effects of increasingly severe droughts by minimizing competitive intensity. However, the direct impact of stand density on the growing environment (i.e. soil moisture), and the specific drought metrics that best quantify that environment, are not well explored for any forest ecosystem. We examined the relationship of varying stand density (i.e. basal area) on soil moisture and stand‐level growth in a long‐term (multi‐decadal), ponderosa pine Pinus ponderosa,...
Categories: Publication; Types: Citation
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Forests across the U.S. are experiencing unprecedented tree mortality caused by a variety of stressors, including invasive insects, disease, extreme weather, wildfires, and droughts. For example, the emerald ash borer, a nonnative insect, has killed tens of millions of trees in the Lake States region of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan alone in the past decade. Tree die offs alter the structure of forests, making them less-suitable habitat for many species, and decrease their ability to perform important ecosystem functions, such as carbon sequestration. Climate change further threatens already damaged forests, as shifting temperature and precipitation conditions alter species’ range limits. To prevent additional...
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These data were compiled for research pertaining to the effects of stand density on growth rates in semi-arid forests. Increasing heat and aridity in coming decades is expected to negatively impact tree growth and threaten forest sustainability in dry areas. Maintaining low stand density has the potential to mitigate the negative effects of increasingly severe droughts by minimizing competitive intensity. By inspecting growth rates and the climate and soil moisture conditions that drive these growth rates we can understand better the positive effects of reducing stand density and the specific dynamics that are beneficial to growth.
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