Tuesday morning and we’re off early to meet up with Fitz and head out south of the Sunriver area to a couple of sites. First stop is a regeneration stand, actually two of them that are part of a study on small gap reforestation in the Ponderosa pine area.
A whole new ballgame and things to consider. Students got to examine different site prep strategies and differences in how natural regeneration interacts with planted seedlings from a management perspective. The concept of “free to grow” took on a whole new meaning with typical student stocking surveys showing a fairly consistent 100-120 trees per acre but with the addition of naturals the stands moved beyond 250
Students had new critters to deal with that just love to chew on little seedlings. At one point a cute lil’ bunny ran through the unit spawning a whole round of Monty Python jokes. Found the remnants of a couple seedlings later that had been sheared off by those cute lil’ teeth!
All types of new shrub competition to learn. A lot of bitterbrush and manzanita in this area. We had about a good couple hours of rain before and during and while we were soaked, our soil pits in the regeneration area showed that all that precipitation had barely reached the upper few millimeters of the soil. It was a great segue to all the earlier talk on precipitation as a limiting factor on the East Side
On to the next area just down the road and into a thinning study that is part of a long term effort to build old-growth structure in the pine forests. Steve started off the discussion explaining concepts of canopy structure and demonstrating characteristics of dominant, co-dominant, intermediates, and suppressed trees in the stand. Students examined different crown types and compared them with cores to see the changes in growth rates within the various crown classes
Students then did a thinning cruise and characterized crown classes for all trees in their plots as Steve and I visted with the groups asking them about their calls
A long day and a lot of information to dwell on. And a pretty hungry group. Tonight’s menu is spaghetti, sausages, salad, and garlic bread.
After dinner a quick trip to the main lodge where my senses tell me that the staff has put out a fresh batch of cookies
Tomorrow we’re off to the Gilchrist area for a trip to a mature stand being managed for the end result of the thinning stand we looked at today