Multi-decadal establishment for single-cohort Douglas-fir forests

James A. Freund, Jerry F. Franklin, Andrew J. Larson, James A. Lutz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The rate at which trees regenerate following stand-replacing wildfire is an important but poorly understood process in the multi-century development of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii (Mirb.) Franco) and western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla (Raf.) Sarg.) forests. Temporal patterns of Douglas-fir establishment reconstructed from old-growth forests (>450 year) have generated contradictory models of either rapid (<25 year) or prolonged (>100 year) periods of establishment, while patterns of tree establishment in mid-aged (100 to 350 year) forests remains largely unknown. To determine temporal patterns of Douglas-fir establishment following stand-replacing fire, increment cores were obtained from 1455 trees in 18 mature and early old-growth forests in western Washington and northwestern Oregon, USA. Each of the stands showed continuous regeneration of Douglasfir for many decades following initiating fire. The establishment period averaged 60 years (range: 32-99 years). These results contrast both with the view of rapid (one- to two-decade) regeneration of Douglas-fir promoted in the early forestry literature and with reports of establishment periods exceeding 100 years in older (>400 year) Douglas-fir-western hemlock stands. These results have important implications for management designed to create and promote early-seral forest characteristics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1068-1078
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number9
StatePublished - May 2014


  • Age structure
  • Canopy closure
  • Douglas-fir
  • Early-seral
  • Single-cohort
  • Stand development
  • Tree establishment


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