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Reserve trees in northern hardwood forests are often artifacts of avoiding a politically charged label of clearcutting.  Even-aged regeneration methods "with reserves" (or any other type of Variable Retention Harvesting, in which selected trees are left long term for shade, refugia, habitat, income at a later date, etc.) provides well lit conditions across a percentage of your property, but on the portions shaded by the residual trees--its a whole different exciting game.  In fact, the shade cast by an individual reserve tree is sufficient to measurably and somewhat predictably alter regeneration patterns--for better or worse, depending on your regeneration goals.

Also, healthy black cherry trees can live far longer than previously reported.  Good news for seed bank viability, and for the wildlife that rely on its soft mast.

Matching species to site conditions is hugely important to ensure what you want to grow does indeed do so.  This is true no matter the region!  Site Preparation can reduce weeds and soil compaction, and increase soil fertility and light availability  long enough to allow seed to germinate, and for those (or planted) seedlings to develop strong root systems and grow above browse level, at which point they may provide enough shade to keep some of those weeds at bay. Herbivores (particularly the "hooved locusts" as deer are known in my family)  and soil drainage must also be factored into those considerations.  Lots of things impact the nutrient cycling budget as well.

In case you are wondering:

  • Reserve ≠ too small or crummy to be sold at that time the rest of the stand is harvested.  That practice is more accurately termed "high-grading", and degrades the stand (e.g., the proverbial sow's ear).

  • Clearcutting is a valid tool for regenerating tree species that require lots of light, and provide valuable habitat for animals that require the food and protection offered by that flush of regeneration. 

  • Shelterwood method of regenerating a stand refers to the practice of leaving standing quality stems of choice species as seed sources, and to provide enough shade to temper the environmental extremes that new seedlings endure.  The shelter is removed once seedlings are established--this step distinguishes these seed/shelter trees from reserves.

 

 

 

 
 

 

 

 

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