Conifer retention and hardwood management affect harvest volume and carbon storage in Douglas-fir/tanoak

John-Pascal Berrill, Kevin Boston


Modern forest management involves tradeoffs between harvest intensity and carbon storage in live trees. A key component is how non-merchantable tree species are treated. We simulated forest growth and yield over a century of multiaged management in a mixed stand in northern California. Pre-treatment basal area comprised 136 ft2 ac-1 (31 m2 ha-1) non-merchantable hardwood and 73 ft2 ac-1 (17 m2 ha-1) merchantable conifer. Individual-tree selection harvest was simulated for various conifer BA retention levels at 20-year harvest return intervals. Silvicultural prescriptions promoted conifer dominance by retaining only 5 ft2 ac-1 (1.1 m2 ha-1) hardwood BA at each harvest. Alternatively, retaining 50% of hardwood BA at each harvest slowed the conversion to conifer dominance. Higher BA retention favored per-acre growth and storage of carbon in live trees. Cutting more heavily sacrificed per-acre wood volume growth, but sizeable early conifer harvests ensued. The FORSEE growth and yield model did not predict expected positive responses of conifer tree growth to treatments that eliminated hardwoods, suggesting it may not adequately simulate benefits of hardwood management. Therefore, our projections of growth and harvest yield should be regarded as conservative when evaluating forest restoration and management options in terms of growth, yield, and carbon dynamics.     


Carbon Sequestration; Forest Carbon; FORSEE; Hardwood Sprouting; Multiaged Management; Partial Harvesting, Uneven-aged Silviculture, Variable Retention.

Full Text:



Ashton MS, Kelty MJ. 2018. The Practice of Silviculture: Applied Forest Ecology, 10th Edition. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY. 776 p.

Berrill JP, Han HS. 2017. Carbon, harvest yields, and residues from restoration in a mixed forest on California’s Coast Range. Forest Science 63(1): 128-136.

Berrill JP, O’Hara KL. 2009. Simulating multiaged coast redwood stand development: Interactions between regeneration, structure, and productivity. West. J. Appl. For. 24(1): 24-32.

Berrill JP, O’Hara KL. 2014. Estimating site productivity in irregular stand structures by indexing basal area or volume increment of the dominant species. Can. J. For. Res. 44(1): 92-100.

Berrill JP, O’Hara KL. 2016. How do biophysical factors contribute to height and basal area development in a mixed multiaged coast redwood stand? Forestry 89: 170–181.

Berrill JP, Jeffress JL, Engle JM. 2012. Coast redwood live crown and sapwood dynamics. Pp. 473-484 in Standiford RB, Weller TJ, Piirto DD, Stuart JD. (tech. coords.). Proc. of Coast redwood forests in a changing California: a symposium for scientists and managers. USDA Forest Service Gen. Tech. Rep. PSW-GTR-238. Albany, CA. 675 p.

Berrill JP, Beal CB, LaFever DH, Dagley CM. 2013. Modeling young stand development towards the old-growth reference condition in evergreen mixed-conifer stands at Headwaters Forest Reserve, California. Forests 4(2): 455-470.

Berrill JP, Dagley CM, Gorman AJ, Obeidy, CS, Powell HK, Wright JC. 2018. Variable-density Retention Promotes Spatial Heterogeneity and Structural Complexity in a Douglas-fir/Tanoak Stand. Curr. Trends in For. Res. 1: 1-9.

Bettinger P, Boston K, Siry JP, Grebner DL. 2009. Forest Management and Planning. Academic Press, New York. 331 p.

California Air Resources Board. 2015. Compliance Offset Protocol U.S. Forest Projects (forestprotocol2015.pdf). California EPA. Available online at: > U.S. Forest Projects (June 25, 2015); last accessed Aug. 3, 2019.

D'Amato AW, Jokela EJ, O'Hara KL, Long JN. 2017. Silviculture in the United States: An Amazing Period of Change over the Past 30 Years. J. For. 116(1): 55-67.

Devine WD, Harrington TB. 2008. Belowground competition influences growth of natural regeneration in thinned Douglas-fir stands. Can. J. For. Res. 38(12): 3085-3097.

DiTomaso JM, Kyser GB, Fredrickson EA. 2004. Control of black oak and tanoak in the Sierra Cascade Range. West. J. Appl. For. 19(4): 268-276.

Drew TJ, Flewelling JW. 1979. Stand density management: an alternative approach and its application to Douglas-fir plantations. For. Sci. 25(3): 518–532.

Forrestel AB, Ramage BS, Moody T, Moritz MA, Stephens SL. 2015. Disease, fuels and potential fire behavior: Impacts of Sudden Oak Death in two coastal California forest types. For. Ecol. Manage. 348: 23-30.

Harrington TB, Tappeiner JC. 2009. Long-term effects of tanoak competition on Douglas-fir stand development. Can. J. For. Res. 39(4): 765-776.

Howe RA. 2014. Coast redwood response to herbicide treatment of tanoak. M.Sc. thesis, Humboldt State University, Arcata, California. 91 p.

Jenkins JC, Chojnacky DC, Heath LS, Birdsey RA. 2003. National-scale biomass estimators for United States tree species. For. Sci. 49(1): 12-35.

Jenkins DH. 2018. Carbon offsets: a viable opportunity for forest landowners? The Consultant 2018: 22-27. last accessed Aug. 1, 2019.

Jones DA, O’Hara KL. 2012. Carbon density in managed coast redwood stands: implications for forest carbon estimation. Forestry 85(1): 99-110.

Kelly EC, Schmitz MB. 2016. Forest offsets and the California compliance market: Bringing an abstract ecosystem good to market. Geoforum 75: 99-109.

King JE. 1966. Site index curves for Douglas fir in the Pacific Northwest. Weyerhaeuser For. Rep. No.8 Weyerhaeuser For. Res. Cntr. Centralia, Wash. 49p.

Krumland, B. 1982. A tree-based forest yield projection system for the north coast region of California. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of California, Berkeley. 188 p.

Krumland B, Eng H. 2005. Site Index Systems for Major Young-Growth Forest and Woodland Species in Northern California. California Forestry Report No.4, April 2005. CAL FIRE. 220p.

Long JN, Daniel TW. 1990. Assessment of growing stock in uneven-aged stands. West. J. Appl. For. 5: 93–96.

Malmsheimer RW, Bowyer JL, Fried JS, Gee E, Izlar RL, Miner RA, Munn IA, Oneil E, Stewart WC. 2011. Managing forests because carbon matters: integrating energy, products, and land management policy. J. For. 109(7S): S7–S50.

Melson S, Harmon ME, Fried JS, Domingo J. 2011. Estimates of live-tree carbon stores in the Pacific Northwest are sensitive to model selection. Carbon Balance Manage. 6(2): 1-16. 10.1186/1750-0680-6-2.

Minogue, PJ. 1997. Introduction to imazapyr herbicide for forest vegetation management in California. Proc. For. Veg. Manag. Conf. 18: 1-7.

O’Hara KL. 2014. Multiaged silviculture: Managing for complex forest stand structures. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK. 213 p.

Oliver CD, Larson BC. 1996. Forest stand dynamics. Update edition. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 520 p.

Raphael MG. 1987. Wildlife-tanoak associations in Douglas-fir forests of northwestern California. Pp. 183-189 in Plumb TR, Pillsbury NH (tech coords), Proceedings of the symposium on multiple-use management of California’s hardwood resources; 1986. General Technical Report PSW-GTR-100. Pacific Southwest Research Station, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Albany, California.

Reineke LH. 1933. Perfecting a stand-density index for even-aged forests. J. Agr. Res. 46: 627-638.

Stokes A, Atger C, Bengough AG, Fourcaud T, Sidle RC. 2009. Desirable plant root traits for protecting natural and engineered slopes against landslides. Plant Soil 324(1-2): 1-30.

Sugihara NG. 2006. Fire in California's ecosystems. University of California Press, Berkeley, CA. 596 p.

Tappeiner JC, Maguire DA, Harrington TB. 2007. Silviculture and Ecology of Western U.S. Forests. Oregon State University Press, Corvallis, OR.

Valachovic YS, Lee CA, Scanlon H, Varner JM, Glebocki R, Graham BD, Rizzo, DM. 2011. Sudden oak death-caused changes to surface fuel loading and potential fire behavior in Douglas-fir-tanoak forests. For. Ecol. Manage. 261(11): 1973-1986.

Weiskittel AR, Hann DW, Kershaw JA, Vanclay JK. 2011. Forest Growth and Yield Modeling. John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 344 p.


  • There are currently no refbacks.


© 2008 Mathematical and Computational Forestry & Natural-Resource Sciences