Scientists discuss oak regeneration at Kane forum

Three scientists studying oak regeneration in Pennsylvania spoke Thursday at the Roach-Bauer Forestry Forum at the Kane Country Club.The speakers included Dr. Patrick Brose, a research forester at the U.S. Forest Service lab in Irvine near Warren, and Dr. Gary Miller and Dr. Kurt Gottschalk, both based at the U.S. Forest Service research facility in Morgantown, W.Va.More than 100 area professionals foresters attended the forum, which is held twice a year in Kane. Forestry students from Penn State University also attended the programIn his talk, Brose said the scientists "knew right away" that studying oak regeneration would be "different" than studies on other species in the state's forests.He pointed out that the research looked at the development of oak seedlings in various settings included those where timber had been recently harvested and at areas left "uncut.""None of the oaks survive or grow in uncut stands," Brose said. He said black oak and red oak "grew the most in the final cuts." However, he said "competition" with other species for survival "quickly became a problem."Brose said new "decision charts with sequences of silvicultural treatments" are needed to "foster oak seedling growth into competitive size classes while keeping interferences and competition at bay."Miller devoted his part of the program to "the effect of over-story density, herbicides, deer fencing and prescribed fire on oak seedling development."According to Miller, the "treatments" such as herbicides, fencing and fire" are needed "before parent trees are harvested." The strategy is to "restore and sustain oak forests after parent trees are harvested," he said.Miller showed slides to illustrate his point that oak seedlings have virtually "no chance" of surviving in areas where the over-story greatly reduces the amount of sunlight reaching the forest floor.He said research shows that a combination of treatments-- fencing, burning and spraying with herbicides-- increases oak regeneration. During the study, the scientists already have used 24 different treatment combinations, Miller said.See full article by purchasing the Oct. 21 edition of The Kane Republican.