Vegetation-environment relationships among woody species in four canopy-layers in an old-growth mixed mesophytic forest

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We examined vegetation-environment relationships among woody species in four canopy-strata within an old-growth mixed mesophytic forest. We hypothesized that 1) the most important environmental variables determining vegetation composition would differ among canopy-layers and 2) the maximum abundance of Quercus spp. would occur under different environmental conditions than those of Acer spp. Overstory and mid-story vegetation were arrayed along gradients of soil fertility and elevation. The shrub- layer and the ground-layer were most strongly correlated with soil fertility and pH. Across strata, Quercus spp. were consistently located in ordination space on well-lit upper slopes with low soil pH. Acer rubrum was found across a wide array of environmental conditions and Acer saccharum was found in mesic areas.


"This study (#02-09-92) is connected with a project of the Kentucky Agricultural Experiment Station and is published with the approval of the Director. This is Publication No. 19 of the Lilley Cornett Woods: Appalachian Research Station of Eastern Kentucky University, Richmond, Kentucky. This study was developed as part of a M.S. Thesis by the senior author in the Department of Forestry at the University of Kentucky. We thank Thesis Committee members, M. A. Arthur, S. K. Gleeson, and R. D. Paratley for constructive discussion throughout the project and helpful comments on earlier drafts of the manuscript. The manuscript was also greatly improved by comments from Audrey Larrimer, two anonymous reviewers and the careful critique of H.S. Neufeld. Finally, we appreciate the opportunity extended by William H. Martin and the staff of Eastern Kentucky University to work at Lilley Cornett Woods." (pp. 44-45)