Predicting survival of planted Douglas-fir and ponderosa pine seedlings on dry, low-elevation sites in southwestern Oregon

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Abstract

Four equations were developed for predicting the probability of Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco] and ponderosa pine (Pinus ponderosa Dougl. ex Laws.) survival for the first (0–1) and first to third (1–3) growing seasons after applying mulching, scalping, or artificial shading (shade cards) treatments in plantations in southwestern Oregon, U.S.A. Variables describing conifer size, levels of competing vegetation, presence of silvicultural treatments, site factors, and climate factors were collected from 13 sites ranging from 0 to 6 years after planting and examined as potential predictors of survival. Age, stem diameter, a competition index for shrubs, severity of growing season at time of treatment, average annual precipitation, aspect, and slope angle were predictors of Douglas-fir survival during 0–1 and 1–3 growing seasons after treatment; the presence of silvicultural treatments was also a predictor only during the first growing season after treatment. Age, aspect, and slope angle were predictors of ponderosa pine survival over both 0–1 and 1–3 growing seasons after treatment; height-diameter ratio, competition indices for herbs, shrubs, and hardwoods, silvicultural treatment, severity of growing season at time of treatment, and average annual precipitation were also predictors only during the first growing season after treatment; crown width was a predictor of survival only during 1–3 growing seasons after treatment. When significant in the models, predicted probability of survival increases with treatments, less severe weather conditions, diameter, crown width, age, and precipitation; probability decreases with increasing height-diameter ratio and competition indices for herbs, shrubs, and hardwoods.

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