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Whitebark pine diameter growth response to removal of competition

Author(s): Robert E. Keane, Kathy L. Gray, Laura J. Dickinson
Year Published: 2007

Silvicultural cutting treatments may be needed to restore whitebark pine (Pinus albicaulis) forests, but little is known of the response of this species to removal of competition through prescribed burning or silvicultural cuttings. We analyzed stem cross-sections from 48 whitebark pine trees in Montana around which most of the competing vegetation was removed by timber harvest treatments. We compared tree ring growth rates before and after the harvest treatment using intervention analysis to determine 1) the potential of release for this little studied tree species and 2) whether the release is related to tree and stand characteristics. We defined release as a statistically significant increase in radial growth after competing trees were removed. All but one of our 48 sampled trees increased in diameter growth after competition was removed, while 40 trees showed a statistically significant (p<0.05) increase in growth. Diameter release was greatest in stands that were dense prior to tree cutting and greatest in old trees with large diameters. Recommendations for appropriate silvicultural cutting are included to aid managers in designing effective restoration treatments.

Citation: Keane RE, Gray KL, and Dickinson LJ. 2007. Whitebark pine diameter growth response to removal of competition. Research Note RMRS-RN-32. Fort Collins, CO: USDA Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Research Station. 9 p.
Topic(s): Fire Effects, Ecological - Second Order, Vegetation, Fuels, Fuel Treatments & Effects, Mechanical treatments
Ecosystem(s): None
Document Type: Technical Report or White Paper
NRFSN number: 19319
FRAMES RCS number: 7346
Record updated: Apr 15, 2019