Natural Regeneration

Achieving desired natural regeneration is the pinnacle of "close to nature" silviculture

Oaks:  Site and Light

From an oak's point of view, what's the best way to characterize the "good spots" for regeneration?  Turns out topography, soils, hydrology, and the local plant community are pretty helpful.  But how you manage the overstory is the other half of the story.


  • Motsinger, J.R., J.M. Kabrick, D.C. Dey, D.E. Henderson, and E.K. Zenner. 2010.  Effect of midstory and understory removal on the establishment and development of natural and artificial pin oak advance reproduction in bottomland forests.  New Forests 29:195-213.
  • Kabrick, J.M., E.K. Zenner, D.C. Dey, D. Gwaze, and R.G. Jensen.  2008.   Using ecological land types to examine landscape-scale oak regeneration dynamics.  Forest Ecology and Management 255:3051-3062.


Eastern White Pine:  Getting Ahead in the Understory

What's the recipe for white pine regeneration and growth?  Two parts receptive seedbed, one part overstory cover to provide moisture yet discourage rust, and one part aspen competition control.  And when natural regeneration occurs, where does it occur and how well does it withstand harvest?  It's all about proximity to seed source, overstory composition, and skid trails.


  • Peck, J.E. and E.K. Zenner.  2009.  Spatial patterns of natural Pinus strobus L. regeneration in a Pinus resinosa Ait. Stand.  The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 136(3):369-379.
  • Peck, J.E. and E.K. Zenner.  2009.  Field Note:  Quantifying the risk of mortality and damage to advance regeneration within the path of harvesting equipment.  Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 25:211-213.
  • Krueger, J.A., E.K. Zenner, and K.J. Puettmann.  2007.  Development of eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.) regeneration under a reserve shelterwood following intermediate removals and windthrow.  Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 24:134-137.
  • Zenner, E.K. and J.A. Krueger.   2006.  Understory and overstory growth responses to structural retention of mature eastern white pine (Pinus strobus L.).  Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society, 133:585-592.
  • Zenner, E.K., K. Puettmann, and J. Krueger.  2005.  Early growth responses of naturally regenerated eastern white pine (Pinus Strobus L.) to partial release from juvenile aspen and pathological pruning.  Northern Journal of Applied Forestry 22:27-34.


Northern White Cedar:  Linking FIA and PLS using ECS

Where on the landscape are your best opportunities for tree species habitat restoration?  This project linked historic PLS and modern FIA records using the land type association (LTA) level of an ECS to identify areas of potential for active management to restore northern white cedar to the Minnesota landscape.


  • Zenner, E.K. and J. Almendinger.  2012.  Identifying Restoration Opportunities for Northern White-Cedar by Contrasting Historical and Modern Inventories in an Ecological Classification System Context.  Ecological Restoration 30:169-179.