There are currently two research projects being supported by Masswood that examine the practice of highgrading. A highgraded hardwood stand in southern New England can be defined as:
The first of the two studies examines and compares silvicultural prescriptions for rehabilitating, or maximizing, the timber value of highgraded stands in the fastest or the most cost efficient manner. This study compares three silvicultural treatments, shelterwood, overstory removal, improvement cut/thinning, and an uncut control in an effort to weigh the costs and benefits of the different approaches. The 40 acre site was divided into eight equal compartments (1 set of replicates), measured, marked according to the different prescriptions, and harvested in 2000. The first of the follow-up data sets will be collected in approximately five years.
second of the two studies compares stands that were highgraded with stands
that received crown thinnings according to crop tree guidelines. A combination
of chronosequences and reconstruction techniques is being used to examine
some of the effects of highgrading on biological and economic productivity
and highgrading's effect on residual stand dynamics. Stem volume and growth
rates, leaf area index, and stand structural characteristics are being
measured to estimate aboveground net primary productivity and growth efficiency.
Current economic value of the stands is being measured, as is the potential