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Ecosystem restoration is a common objective of public and private land owners throughout eastern North America. Specific restoration objectives vary according to ecosystem function and the level of degradation from target conditions. To reach restoration objectives, land managers commonly use silvicultural techniques, such as timber harvest, herbicide application, and prescribed fire. In practice, however, these methods are not always applied with a silvicultural basis. We seek to apply silvicultural concepts of growing space occupancy, light availability, and competitive dynamics to restoration context across a variety of ecosystems to reach specific objectives.
Our research explores ecological effects of restoration practices in longleaf pine ecosystems of the southeastern US, methods for the restoration and management of shortleaf pine throughout the mid-south, and the restoration of hardwood forests and woodlands following agricultural abandonment and fire suppression. Restoration practices commonly include the use of repeated prescribed burning, which subsequently affects important ecosystem processes such as forest regeneration and tree health. Through greater understanding of the ecological constraints to restoration success, we seek to prioritize restoration efforts to sites likely for success.
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