Height development milestones for canopy recruitment after overstory removal in the Missouri Ozarks

Lance A. Vickers, David R. Larsen, Benjamin O. Knapp, John M. Kabrick, Daniel C. Dey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Tree height development has been studied extensively. Nonetheless, there is limited quantitative guidance for height expectations during the regeneration period, particularly for common species with low commercial value. Site index models, for example, often omit the initial 15–20 years of development. We examined height development of juvenile trees during the first twenty years after overstory removal in naturally regenerated, mixed stands in the Missouri Ozarks to identify milestones indicative of eventual recruitment into the upper canopy by the end of the regeneration period. Such milestones quantify minimum height requirements for recruitment success from trees that occupied codominant and dominant crown classes at the end of the regeneration period. Results show these milestones differed statistically by site class and those differences increased over time. Species-specific milestones were similar and while some statistical differences were observed, the practical, if not ecological, consequences of those differences appeared limited. The similarity in milestones among species suggests that there is a minimum height threshold for eventual canopy recruitment success after overstory removal in the Missouri Ozarks. This was validated using independent data from a nearby long-term study with tagged individuals. Less than 1% of trees that failed the milestones by year 3 met them after 16 years, and less than 1% of trees failing the milestones at year 8 met them by year 16. Thus, the presented milestones are a tool that can be used to assess individual tree height development during the recruitment process. A tree that attains these milestones early in development is not guaranteed to remain successful throughout the regeneration period, but success without first reaching these milestones is highly improbable.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)122-133
Number of pages12
JournalForest Ecology and Management
StatePublished - Aug 1 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Funding for data collection and analyses was provided by the USDA Forest Service Northern Research Station and the Missouri Department of Conservation. All sample trees were collected from forests managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation. The assistance of the following Missouri Department of Conservation employees was vital to this effort: Matthew Olson, Steve Burm, Heather Burm, Steve Paes, Matt Jones, George Kipp, Shane Botard, Mark Pelton, Annabelle Lanham, Carrie Steen, Keith Lee, and Tom Nichols. Their eagerness to assist and their on-site hospitality is appreciated. David McCorkell, Ben Tiefenbrun, and Adam Caster comprised what may have been the best field crew ever assembled and this effort would have been a failure without them. The assistance of Kevin Hosman and Jason Hubbart with sample storage is appreciated. Michael Stambaugh and Joseph Marschall provided valuable advice. The work of Ben Tiefenbrun, Adam Caster, Brandon Dhondt, Michael Porter, Elizabeth Wernert, Richard Saltzman, and others in sample preparation and data collection is appreciated.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Elsevier B.V.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


Dive into the research topics of 'Height development milestones for canopy recruitment after overstory removal in the Missouri Ozarks'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this