The Relationship Between Basal Area and Hard Mast Production in the Ouachita Mountains

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Abstract - Because the relationship between stand density and hard mast production is not clear, we investigated the effects of varying total overstory basal area (BA) on acorn and hickory nut production in the Ouachita Mountains. We used Whitehead visual surveys to estimate mast production in oaks (Quercus spp.) and hickories (Carya spp.) located in 20 stands under five silvicultural treatments, each varying in residual BA. In 5 years of data (1994-1998), we found no linear relationship between BA and mast production for the red oak subgenus. A significant linear relationship existed between BA and hickory nut production two of the 5 years. A significant linear relationship existed between acorn production and BA for white (Q. alba) and post (Q. stellata) oaks all 5 years; trees in stands with lower BA had higher production indices. Because white and post oaks tend to be the dominant mast producers in pine-hardwood stands on south-facing slopes in the Ouachita Mountains, thinning these areas should generally increase mast production by residual trees. However, we did not measure the effects of thinning on stand-wide mast production.

  • Citation: Perry, Roger W.; Thill, Ronald E.; Tappe, Philip A.; Peitz, David G. 2004. The Relationship Between Basal Area and Hard Mast Production in the Ouachita Mountains. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-74. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. pp. 55-59

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