Stand Structural Complexity

(Saunders and Wagner) Modeling has been used to assess the effects of harvesting on the vertical and horizontal forest structure. The primary objective is to provide a more unified definition of stand structure and provide a set of metrics for measuring it. Simulation modeling of stand structural development over time using both traditional and spatially-explicit indices for five silvicultural treatments has been compared. Results from this project indicate that commercial clearcutting, fixed diameter limit, and shelterwood  harvests create stand structures that are atypical of those found under natural stand development in the Northeast, at least in the short term (<30 years after harvest). Further, this work suggests that the Stand Complexity Index (Zenner and Hibbs 2000) is inadequate in its current form to separate low-density, uneven-aged stands with “high” amounts of observed forest structure from high-density, even-aged stands with “low” amounts of observed forest structure.  Data for this study was collected on permenant plots of the USFS long-term silviculture experiment on the Penobscot Experimental Forest.