Influence of canopy structure on the survival and growth of underplanted seedlings

John M. Lhotka, Edward F. Loewenstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


This study explores the indirect relationship between forest structural measures and initial seedling survival and growth along a structural gradient between 64% to 92% canopy closure. The gradient was created by applying various levels of midstory removal to fifty 0.05 ha areas located within a mixed-hardwood riparian forest corridor. Twelve yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.) and cherrybark oak (Quercus pagoda Raf.) containerized seedling pairs were underplanted within each area. Canopy closure was estimated using hemispherical photography; height-to-canopy and basal area were recorded at each seedling pair. Survival, basal diameter, and height were monitored through two growing seasons. Species-specific mortality and height growth models were developed for one and two growing seasons following underplanting. The interaction of height-to-canopy and basal area along with canopy closure were found to be the most strongly related to mortality. Height to the forest canopy and initial seedling size explained the most variance in height increment. Although the height increment models possess limited predictive power (R 2 range from 0.22 to 0.36), both mortality and growth analyses emphasize the importance of quantifying vertical canopy structure, along with the more commonly considered horizontal measures of forest structure (basal area and stem density), when evaluating seedling development beneath a forest canopy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)89-104
Number of pages16
JournalNew Forests
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2008

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgements The authors acknowledge Auburn University’s Center for Forest Sustainability for providing funding for this project and the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Georgia Power for


  • Forest structure
  • Liriodendron tulipifera
  • Quercus pagoda
  • Regeneration
  • Selection silviculture
  • Uneven-aged silviculture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Forestry


Dive into the research topics of 'Influence of canopy structure on the survival and growth of underplanted seedlings'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this