The Lilley Cornett Woods: a stable mixed mesophytic forest in Kentucky

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Nine forest communities are recognized in a stable mixed mesophytic forest, the Lilley Cornett Woods on the Cumberland Plateau in southeastern Kentucky. In the geographic region the dissected landscape greatly modifies local climate, soil development and processes, and floristic and vegetational characteristics. The number and distribution of communities and species represent a botanical diversity reflecting this habitat variation. Based on trees with > 12.5 cm diameter at breast height, overall community density averages 290 stems/hectare (116/acre), while basal area averages 26.6 m2/hectare (115.6 ft2/acre). Communities dominated by Fagus grandifolia are widespread and represent approximately 50% of the upland stable segment of the Woods. Oak communities, second in areal extent, occupy the more xeric sites and are dominated chiefly by Qgercus alba or Q. prinus. Tsuga canadensis occurs in almost "pure" stands and is well represented throughout the Woods. A cove community dominated by Acer saccharum, Tilia heterophylla, and Liriodendron tlipifera has the greatest number of tree species. Vegetation is closely related to topographic features, which directly affect other environmental parameters. Slope characteristics are also important factors in formation of soils derived from the horizontal interbedded Pennsylvanian strata. The Woods is a Kentucky state forest and serves as a preserved remnant of vegetation near the center of development of the Eastern Deciduous Forest.