Jones CS, DH Duncan, L Rumpff,FM Thomas, WK Morris and PA Vesk (2015) Empirically validating a dense woody regrowth 'problem' and thinning 'solution' for understory vegetation. FOREST ECOLOGY AND MANAGEMENT 340:153-162

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In landscapes with a short history of intensive land use, woody plant regrowth on cleared land is often favorably received as a shift back to a more natural state. However, it is common for these regrowth stands to be much denser than undisturbed forest. High stem density can adversely affect stand structure, understory composition, and habitat for dependent fauna. Thinning to reduce stem density is one common silvicultural method used to manage dense stands for ecological or restoration objectives. The effect of thinning on the stand structure is well understood but those on the understory vegetation are not. We address this knowledge gap in anticipation of an increasing call for public investment in 'ecological' thinning across public and private land. Our case study is from the eucalypt woodlands and forests of central Victoria, Australia, an ecosystem in which dense woody regrowth is common. From a broad survey of 98 sites, spanning a range of stem densities, we explored the effect of density on understory vegetation. High densities of small trees (