Northeastern Forest Regeneration Handbook - A Guide for Forest Owners, Harvesting Practitioners, and Public Officials

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This handbook has been prepared to help readers develop an appreciation of how northeastern forests develop and an understanding of forest regeneration concepts, including the importance of disturbance. This information will help landowners and other land use decisionmakers, in concert with professional foresters, make informed decisions about forest regeneration options tailored to their management objectives.

This handbook is divided into five sections.

Section I: Northeastern Forests—Yesterday and Today provides a context for the issues surrounding the natural regeneration of our forests. It begins with a short history of the forest from the glaciers to the period of European colonization and large-scale land clearing through to the present suburban forest. It concludes with the challenges (fragmentation, parcelization, deer, invasive species) that must be met to maintain a healthy and vibrant forest for future generations.

Section II: Environmental Factors explains basic concepts in forest regeneration, including the importance of different combinations of light, moisture, and soil in determining its success or failure. The section then details the adaptations of different species to distinct combinations of light, moisture, and soil conditions, and concludes with an examination of competitive interference among trees striving to form part of the upper canopy.

Section III: Disturbance—The Agent of Change examines the role of disturbance in maintaining habitat and species diversity. The influences that distinct disturbance regimes have on forest composition are also explored.

Section IV: Forest Management for Regeneration introduces different methods (prescriptions) of forest management and discusses the influence of each management style on the availability of light, moisture, and growing space for new regeneration. Because the primary reason for harvesting is often either income or a noncommodity amenity such as wildlife, the economic and esthetic considerations of each management method are also presented.

Section V: Species Regeneration Notes details requirements to successfully regenerate specific species. Like the remainder of this publication, this section is not intended to be an authoritative reference, but instead provides readers with sufficient information to make informed decisions about forest management options.

This publication should not replace professional forestry advice when developing a management plan and embarking on regeneration or other forest management activities. The authors strongly encourage landowners to engage the services of a professional forester.

Download this Resource for the complete report and printable version.


Steven Roberge
Extension State Specialist, Forest Resources
Assoc State Spec Professor
Phone: (603) 862-4861
Office: UNH Cooperative Extension, Taylor Hall, Durham, NH 03824