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Structure and composition of unmanaged riparian forests in the coastal mountains of Oregon, U.S.A. Public Deposited

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  • We characterized the structure and composition of unmanaged riparian forests in three river basins in Oregon’s coastal mountains. Our objective was to evaluate stand attributes at three spatial scales: streamside (site), drainage network (stream order), and basin (subregion). Data on basal area, species composition, snag density, canopy cover, and tree regeneration were collected along transects at 124 sites. Conifer basal area increased with distance from stream, a trend similar among subregions, and was highest at sites along first-order streams. Hardwood basal area was relatively constant with distance from stream and was proportionally higher at sites along second- and third-order streams than at sites along first-order streams. Conifer and hardwood tree regeneration occurred infrequently and varied by topographic position, stream order, and subregion. Conifer regeneration was associated with basal area of shadetolerant conifers and appeared to be limited by shrub competition. The unmanaged forests we studied were characterized by a patchy mosaic of structure and composition. Hardwoods and shrubs were major components of the near-stream environment in these forests, whereas dominance of conifers was limited to hillslopes. It appears that finescale patterns associated with proximity to the stream are influenced by coarser scale factors such as valley-floor width and climate.
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  • Robert J. Pabst and Thomas A. Spies. 1999. Structure and composition of unmanaged riparian forests in the coastal mountains of Oregon, U.S.A. Can. J. For. Res. 29: 1557–1573.
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