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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2022

Influence of Strip Clearcuts, Deer Exclusion and Herbicide on Initial Sapling Recruitment in Northern Hardwood Forests

Hupperts, Stefan F.; Webster, Christopher R.; Froese, Robert E.; Bal, Brandon; Dickinson, Yvette L.


Sapling recruitment in hardwood forests is often suppressed by overstory shade, interspecific competition, and browsing pressure from white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus Zimmerman). In some northern hardwood stands, these three interacting factors may cause persistent recruitment failure of the dominant canopy species, sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marsh.), into the sapling size class. In this study, we compared initial (two-year) sugar maple and hophornbeam (Ostrya virginiana ((Mill.) K. Koch) seedling and sapling recruitment in strip clearcuts to strip selection cuts, with combinations of herbicide and deer exclosures, in a northern hardwood forest with limited sugar maple sapling recruitment. We found that sugar maple sapling recruitment was higher in exclosures, particularly in strip clearcuts. Moreover, mixed models predicted that exclosures in strip clearcuts with herbicide tended to benefit sugar maple sapling recruitment, especially when the pre-treatment density was less than similar to 1500 stems ha(-1). Sapling density of hophornbeam was also promoted in exclosure plots but was negatively affected by herbicide. Graminoid and Rubus spp. cover was also limited by herbicide following harvest, potentially alleviating constraints on future sugar maple sapling recruitment. Our findings indicate that sugar maple sapling recruitment in strip clearcuts is similar to strip selection cuts unless browsing pressure and interspecific competition are also alleviated.


silviculture; northern hardwoods; Acer saccharum; Ostrya virginiana; deer browsing; herbicide; strip clearcuts

Published in

2022, volume: 13, number: 7, article number: 1149
Publisher: MDPI

Authors' information

Hupperts, Stefan F.
Michigan Technological University
Webster, Christopher R.
Michigan Technological University
Froese, Robert E.
Michigan Technological University
Dickinson, Yvette L.
Michigan Technological University

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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