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Stand Growth Assessment Tool
Reduction in growth of Douglas-fir from the Tillamook State Forest caused by Swiss needle cast
Douglas-fir stands infected with Swiss needle cast have shown conflicting growth responses in which some stands grow extremely well while others put on little volume.  This has important implications for forest managers who must decide how to manage infected stands.  The current convention directs foresters to clear cut stands if they have needle retention levels below a minimum threshold.  However, using Swiss needle cast severity alone, as estimated by needle retention, to prioritize harvest plans does not consider growth as a factor.  As a result, there is a need for a method to determine treatment priorities that is based on expected stand growth results.
 
In response to this need, Doug Mainwaring and Nate Coleman, Oregon State University, and the Oregon Department of Forestry developed the Stand Growth Assessment Tool program “which allows the user to examine how a particular stand is growing in relation to growth model estimates of how it would be growing in the absence of Swiss needle cast.  By doing so, stands may be ranked by their current performance relative to expectations, allowing informed decisions on the value of holding, thinning, or clearcutting them.” (Doug Mainwaring, unpublished information).  The Stand Growth Assessment Tool is a derivative of the original Swiss Needle Cast Stand Evaluation Software program developed by Doug Mainwaring and Nate Coleman.
 
The primary function of this assessment tool is to assist forest managers in making definitive decisions on harvest prescriptions for a stand using a combination of real and modeled quantitative growth values.  The program is currently in the final stages of development and operational trials are currently being conducted in the Tillamook District.

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