, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 302-310
Date: 18 Jun 2009

Individual growing conditions that affect diameter increment of tree saplings after selection harvesting in a mixed forest in northern Japan

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Abstract

We analyzed temporal patterns in diameter growth of saplings following selection harvesting in an uneven-aged mixed stand dominated by Abies sachalinensis, Acer mono, Quercus crispula, and Betula ermanii in Hokkaido, northern Japan. We examined interspecific differences in growth responses to local growing conditions including harvesting intensity, crowding, stem size, and past duration of the small growth period. Consistent with expectations based on shade tolerance of the species, the age at which the individual reached a diameter at breast height (DBH) of 12.5 cm was highest for A. sachalinensis and lowest for B. ermanii. The interspecific growth differences between saplings that had or had not experienced local harvesting increased gradually for A. sachalinensis and B. ermanii, but peaked at around 4–6 years after harvesting for Q. crispula. Generalized linear mixed model analysis clearly suggested that individual growth conditions required to enhance diameter growth of saplings differed considerably among species. For Q. crispula and B. ermanii, local harvesting intensity was most strongly and positively associated with diameter growth rate, whereas for A. sachalinensis and A. mono, stem size had the strongest negative effect. Abies sachalinensis saplings responded more to surrounding harvesting when they were relatively small, whereas A. mono showed a weak opposite response. The duration of the small growth period before harvesting had negative effect for A. sachalinensis, but not for the other species. Our study indicated that the influence of selection harvesting on growth of shade-tolerant species depends upon pre- and post-harvest growing conditions.