Strategies for Managing Compositionally Degraded Mixedwood Stands


  • Laura Kenefic US Forest Service


Degraded mixedwood, management


Many forests of the northern U.S. and southern Canada consist of northern hardwood (deciduous) and softwood (coniferous) species in mixture, i.e., temperate mixedwoods. In some cases, these compositions result from site and natural disturbance regime, while others result from past land use such as agriculture or repeated harvesting. Where harvesting occurred without sufficient attention to residual stand condition, component species may be lost or diminished. Stands which have been degraded in this way may be less likely to provide the benefits desired from species mixtures, e.g., reduced susceptibility to insects and diseases, wildlife habitat diversity, and increased market flexibility, carbon sequestration, and climate resiliency. Strategies for managing compositionally degraded mixedwoods, include identifying limiting species and complicating factors, maintaining seed sources, manipulating regeneration substrate and microclimate, and controlling merchantable and submerchantable competition. With thoughtful management, northern hardwood and softwood mixtures can be maintained for both production and ecological outcomes. 

Co-authors: John Kabrick (U.S. Forest Service), Patricia Raymond (Quebec Ministry of Forests, Wildlife, and Parks), Benjamin Knapp (University of Missouri), Lance Vickers (University of Kentucky), Nicole Rogers (University of Maine), and Christel Kern (U.S. Forest Service).


Author Biography

Laura Kenefic , US Forest Service

Laura Kenefic, Ph.D. is a Research Forester and Team Leader with the U.S. Forest Service, Northern Research Station in Maine, USA. Her research includes forests of the Northeast and Lake States, with a focus on northern hardwood, northern conifer, and temperate mixedwood ecology and management. She has more than 100 publications on topics such as multi-aged silviculture, rehabilitation of degraded stands, regeneration and recruitment, and diversity, equity, and inclusion in natural resource professions. She is co-author of a number of management guides and contributor to the textbook Silviculture: Concepts and Applications. Laura is a Fellow of the Society of American Foresters and recipient of the U.S. Forest Service’s National Silviculture Excellence Award.