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Timber harvesting as ongoing disturbance in a landscape of diverse ownership

Abstract
Although the northeastern US includes extensive areas of aggrading forest, uncertainty regarding the intensity and pattern of forest harvesting hampers an understanding of important ecological processes and characteristics such as carbon and nitrogen storage, habitat quality, and forest dynamics, and impedes regional conservation and management planning. Due to the complex ownership pattern dominated by thousands of non-industrial private forest (NIPF) owners and the difficulty of detecting selective logging using remote sensing, details of the harvesting regime remain largely unknown to the scientific and policy communities. To examine the value of statewide regulatory data for Massachusetts as a unique source of this critical information, we analyzed 17 years of timber harvest data gathered for regulatory purposes for a 168,000 ha forested landscape in Massachusetts that is the focus of concerted conservation planning and intensive study of landscape and ecosystem pattern and process. The North Quabbin Region is heavily wooded with a complicated ownership pattern dominated by over 2500 NIPF owners, three state agencies, and diverse conservation and municipal holdings.
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2003-01-01
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