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Background: Managed Caatinga forests in Northeast Brazil are an important source of wood products, however, successful regeneration and regrowth is important to guarantee sustainability in these forests. The main objective of this study was to evaluate the natural regeneration and forest regrowth ability of a Caatinga forest under varying clear-cut treatments, as well as to estimate the recovery time of stand parameters.
Results: An experiment was set up in Petrolina, Pernambuco state, Brazil, comparing five clear-cut strip widths: 0, 40, 60, 80 and 100 meters. Forest inventory data was gathered before and eight years after harvesting in 19 plots of 10 x 40 m. Tree seedling regeneration (individuals with circumference at breast height < 6 cm and minimum height of 0.5 m) was also monitored in 5 x 5 m sub plots, before harvesting, one, three and eight years after harvesting.
Conclusions: No influence of the clear-cut strip width on regeneration and forest regrowth ability was detected, with all treatments presenting similar growth and tree species diversity and similarity values. The estimated growth rates of the clear-cut plots were of 0.12 m2·ha-1·year-1 and 0.39 m3·ha-1·year-1 for basal area and volume, respectively, resulting in recovery times of 35 and 49 years, longer than the 15 years cycles generally adopted in Caatinga forest management plans.
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