The Pothole Creek Study Area, 25 km southeast of Merritt, B.C., was established in 1996 to provide a site for detailed study of interior Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii var.
glauca [Beissn.] Franco) tree biology and uneven-aged stand development. With groups of multi-aged overstorey trees interspersed with grassy openings and clumps of dense advanced regeneration, the site is characteristic of many dry Douglas-fir forests that were partially cut in the 1960s. A recent 10-year remeasurement of permanent sample plots on the site indicated that the total stem count had declined by about 2400 per hectare from 1996 to 2006, with the losses concentrated in the understorey. Mean diameter of prime trees had increased from 31.2 to 33.6 cm and total volume growth was 2.9 m3/ha per year. The current merchantable stocking level of 137 m3/ha could either sustain another partial-cut entry or be profitably left for a future harvest. More research is recommended on underplanting methods that reduce losses to browsing and drought, and the effects of cattle behaviour and management on recruitment patterns in dry Douglas-fir stands.
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Updated March 26, 2008