OOS 17-10
Silvicultural interpretation of vegetation plot data

Wednesday, August 7, 2013: 11:10 AM
101D, Minneapolis Convention Center
John C. Almendinger, Division of Forestry, Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Grand Rapids, MN

Since the early 1900s foresters have used regional vegetation classifications as a tool for site classification. Habitat-type, forest ecosystem, and native plant community classifications have been available to North American foresters for many years, but are rarely used to their full potential. This is so because the classifications by themselves do not directly address essential silvicultural concepts such as: natural disturbance regimes, successional models, tree longevity, seedbed requirements, recruitment windows, or the interaction of tree seedlings with the groundlayer. If a regional classification is to be used for forestry applications the plot data contributing to the classification must be re-analyzed and interpreted for silvicultural purposes. Also, the classification must be tied to timber inventories for planning purposes before the classes will be used over cover-type as the driver of decision making.


In Minnesota the plots contributing to the Native Plant Community (NPC) classification are a growing corpus of classified data. Other inventories such as Forest Inventory and Analysis plots, stand timber inventories, and Public Land Survey corners have been modeled as belonging to a particular NPC class. Partial species lists, whether just woody vegetation or some fraction of the vascular plant flora were passively associated with NPC classes. This greatly expanded the utility of the NPC classification and our ability to describe the "community silvics" of trees.