Species composition of developing central appalachian hardwood stands following clearcutting.

Published online
15 Apr 2015
Content type
Bulletin article; Conference paper

Vickers, L. A. & Fox, T. R.

Publication language
USA & West Virginia


Abstract--This study examined the species composition of 47 paired stands on submesic sites on the Appalachian Plateau of West Virginia. Paired stands consisted of a mature stand adjacent to a young clearcut that was <20 years old. The species composition in the mature stands was compared to that of the upper canopy (dominant and codominant) in the clearcuts. The objective of this comparison was to determine if there was evidence of potentially lasting shifts in species composition resulting from clearcutting. This objective was addressed through three research questions related to common regeneration concerns in the region: (1) is there evidence of a shift towards more mesophytic species? (2) Is there evidence of an increase in red maple (Acer rubrum L.); and (3) is there evidence of a decrease in oak (Quercus spp.)? There were significant differences in species composition between the clearcuts and mature stands. These differences were largely due to increases in fast-growing, shade-intolerant pioneer species {e.g., black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia L.), pin cherry (Prunus pensylvanica L.), sassafras [Sassafras albidum (Nutt.) Nees], etc.}, black cherry (Prunus serotina Ehrh.), and yellow-poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera L.). Significant differences were not found for mesophytic species, red maple, or oaks. The results of this comparison suggest that future species composition of the young clearcuts may differ only slightly from previous rotations.

Key words