Date of Award

5-2012

Level of Access

Campus-Only Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Forest Resources

Advisor

Robert S. Seymour

Second Committee Member

Aaron R. Weiskittel

Third Committee Member

Michael E. Day

Abstract

Despite the commercial importance, and abundant harvest, of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) in Maine - and throughout New England - there has been little research investigating sapling dynamics of the species since Frothingham published height growth data in 1914. Given the prevalence of regeneration across Maine, it is beneficial for forest managers to possess the tools to properly harness the regenerative capability of their forests. For white pine, successful management is accomplished through shelterwood silviculture.

Results from this study are of considerable use to forest managers, whether the managers assume a hands-on approach through intense data collection, or a purely statistical approach, with growth and yield software and prior data. The synthesis of height growth and canopy openness predictions in Chapter 1 allows for perception of the time required to grow saplings to 6 meters (one log) in height, based on overstory density. Thus rather than managing shelterwoods based on "common sense and intuition," as is frequently practiced today, foresters can see the implications of leaving increased overstory density on the landscape now, and make informed decisions ahead of time.

Chapter 2 is an evaluation of the Forest Vegetation Simulator: Northeast Variant (FVS-NE) small tree height model, seeking to offer improved modeling capabilities to users of the software managing for white pine. The model, which has been found to be biased despite multiple revisions, is deemed fit for use from Maine to West Virginia, despite drastic differences within species across this geographic range. This study's results signify drastic under prediction of height growth when growth exceeds one foot per year, despite a detailed and lengthy dataset. Therefore, this study recommends adoption of an alternate model form, rather than simple model calibration. Development of a Maine-specific variant of FVS is underway, presenting an opportunity for such a system overhaul.

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