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Interface Forestry

forest stewardship in the wildland-urban interface

Managing Forest Stands for Old-Growth Structure and Composition

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Managing for future old-growth stand structure, composition, and function is a legitimate long-term objective. Obstacles are abundant, but economic, aesthetic, and environmental rewards can accrue over time. (For instance, carbon offsets trading will put an economic value on retaining large trees for their role in absorbing carbon dioxide and respiring oxygen.)

Planning for restoring old-growth requires a target stand -- a written description of the envisioned future stand structure and composition -- based on the systematic observations of various researchers (some of whom reach conflicting conclusions).

Arno, S.F., J.H. Scott, and M.G. Hartwell, Age-Class Structure of Old Growth Ponderosa Pine/Douglas-Fir Stands and its Relationship to Fire History, Ogden, UT: USDA, Forest Service, Intermountain Research Station, April 1995, INT-RP-481.

Mehl, M.S., "Old-growth Descriptions for the Major Forest Cover Types in the Rocky Mountain Region", in M.R. Kaufmann, W.H. Moir, and R.L. Bassett, eds, Old-Growth Forests in the Southwest and Rocky Mountain Regions, Proceedings of a Workshop(Ft. Collins, CO: USDA, Forest Service, Rocky Mountain Forest and Range Experiments Station).

Morgan, T., C. Fiedler, and C. Woodall, Characteristics of Dry Site Old-Growth Ponderosa Pine in Bull Mountains of Montana, Doctoral Dissertation, University of Montana, Missoula, School of Forestry, December, 1999.

Unknown author, "Old-Growth Forest Type Descriptions," compiled from Forest Service Meetings in Spokane, Wa (June 11, 1991) and Missoula, MT (Oct.4, 1991), USDA, Forest Service.