(Olson, Saunders, and Wagner) – The most diagnostic feature of the expanding-gap method is the unique spatial pattern of regenerating forest produced by periodically expanding the edges of gaps generated during earlier entries. In order to address both the spatial and temporal pattern of forest vegetation response to expanding-gap treatments, AFERP is becoming increasingly more spatially explicit. This involves the implementation of specialized sampling methods designed to capture explicit spatial pattern for an array of ecological attributes, including snags and downed dead wood, understory light environment, and tree reproduction (see figure below). From the sampling methods being employed, AFERP will begin to generate spatially-explicit models of forest regeneration and to capture spatial pattern response of forest attributes (e.g., understory vegetation, deadwood, and light environment) when testing for treatment effects of the expand-gap experiment.
Figure illustrating the repeating pattern cyclical sampling (RPCS) design overlain on actual transect locations in research area 4 (control unit).