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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Red Alder-Conifer Stands in Alaska: An Example of Mixed Species Management to Enhance Structural and Biological Complexity

Deal, Robert L.; Orlikowska, Ewa H.; D'Amore, David V.; Hennon, Paul E.


There is worldwide interest in managing forests to improve biodiversity, enhance ecosystem services and assure long-term sustainability of forest resources. An increasingly important goal of forest management is to increase stand diversity and improve wildlife and aquatic habitat. Well-planned silvicultural systems containing a mixture of broadleaf-conifer species have potential to enhance stand diversity and provide other ecosystem services earlier than typical even-aged conifer plantations. Here, we use the example of mixed Sitka spruce/western hemlock and red alder in young, managed stands in southeast Alaska to achieve these goals. We briefly describe the silvics of Sitka spruce, western hemlock and red alder plantations as pure conifer stands or pure broadleaf stands. Then, we synthesize studies of mixed red alder-Sitka spruce/western hemlock stands in southeast Alaska and present their potential for improving stand structural complexity, biodiversity and other ecosystem services over pure conifer forests. Finally, we discuss some of the opportunities and potential tradeoffs for managing mixed broadleaf-conifer stands for providing a number of natural resources and the influence of these broadleaf-conifer forests on ecosystem linkages and processes.


conifer plantations; broadleaf-conifer stands; ecosystem services; forest management; Alaska

Published in

2017, volume: 8, number: 4, article number: 131
Publisher: MDPI AG

Authors' information

Deal, Robert L.
US Forest Service
Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, School for Forest Management
D’Amore, David V.
US Forest Service
Hennon, Paul E.
US Forest Service

Sustainable Development Goals

SDG15 Life on land

UKÄ Subject classification

Forest Science

Publication Identifiers


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