Structural complexity and developmental stage after an intermediate-scale wind disturbance on an upland Quercus standThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Promoting stand structural complexity is an increasingly popular silvicultural objective, as complex structures are hypothesized to be more resistant and resilient to perturbations. On April 20, 2011 in Lawrence County, Alabama, an EF1 tornado tracked 5 km, leaving a patchwork mosaic of disturbed areas. In summer 2014, we established a 100 m × 200 m (2 ha) rectangular plot perpendicular to the swath of the storm within an affected Quercus alba stand to document the effects of wind disturbance on stand structure. Stem mortality was clustered near the swath of the tornado. Within the 2 ha plot, 22 percent of the basal area was removed by the wind event. To compare structural attributes across areas of increasing disturbance severity, we divided the plot into disturbance classes (minimal, light, and moderate). Our results will improve our understanding of the structural attributes of upland Quercus stands after an intermediate scale wind event and may be used to determine types of silvicultural systems needed to enhance structural complexity and minimize the disparity between natural and managed stands.