Many land managers are interested in maintaining or restoring plant communities that contain Oregon white oak (OWO, Quercus garryana), yet there is relatively little information available about the species’ growth rates and survival to guide management decisions. We used two studies to characterize growth (over multi-year periods and within individual years) and to evaluate the main factors that affect growth and survival. The objective of the first study was to revise the OWO components of the Forest Vegetation Simulator (FVS), a widely-used growth model. We first compiled a large database on growth and survival to develop equations to revise FVS. Diameter growth and survival over multi-year periods were strongly affected by stand density, the competitive position of the tree, tree size, and site productivity. The height growth potential of OWO was predicted from site productivity, stand density and tree size. In the second study, intra-annual patterns of OWO growth were evaluated by precisely measuring stem diameters with band dendrometers. OWO experienced two periods of stem expansion, with the first period likely representing growth (the production of new wood and bark) and the second representing stem rehydration in the fall and winter. As in the first study, growth was strongly affected by the level of competition around each tree. Our results show the sensitivity of Oregon white oak to competition and highlight the need to restore low stand densities in many cases to improve growth and the likelihood of survival.
For more articles from the Spring 2011 issue of Northwest Science please refer to the link below: