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Old-growth Montane Longleaf Pine Forest Age Structure: A Preliminary AssessmentAuthor(s): J. Morgan Varner; John S. Kush; Ralph S. Meldahl
Source: In: Proceedings of the 2<sup>nd</sup> Longleaf Alliance Conference; 1998 November 17-19; Charlescon, SC. Longleaf Alliance Report No. 4. Longleaf Alliance: 170-174. Auburn University, AL
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
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DescriptionPresettlement longleaf pine forests of the Southeast have been described as uneven-aged forests comprised of even-aged patches. Less than 4000 ha of old-growth longleaf forest remains. From these few sites remaining, a limited volume of age related literature has evolved, and these studies have been limited to the Lower Coastal Plain physiographic province. This study attempts to quantify the age structure of several old-growth stands in the Choccolocco Mountains of Fort McClellan, Alabama. While several examples of old-growth longleaf forest exist in the Coastal Plain, Fort McClellan's remnant populations represent the best examples of the disappearing montane longleaf pine forest, including several old-growth stands. Our presentation will focus on quantifying the temporal and spatial patterns of the montane longleaf forests of Fort McClellan. Preliminary analyses of stands studied depict a forest of several distinct age classes, individual tree ages exceeding 225 years, with many above 100 years. Additionally, preliminary results of coring indicate a much greater incidence of redheart infection in the montane longleaf pine sampled than in two old-growth populations in the Lower Coastal Plain. Redheart disease causes the heartwood to decay, thereby making age determination impossible, but creates the conditions favorable for cavity excavation by the endangered red-cockaded woodpecker. Finally, a comparison of the age structure of this montane population to Coastal Plain descriptions will be included. It is hoped that by gaining a better understanding of montane longleaf pine forests, we will be better able to restore and manage this ecosystem.
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CitationVarner, J. Morgan; Kush, John S.; Meldahl, Ralph S. 1998. Old-growth Montane Longleaf Pine Forest Age Structure: A Preliminary Assessment. In: Proceedings of the 2nd Longleaf Alliance Conference; 1998 November 17-19; Charlescon, SC. Longleaf Alliance Report No. 4. Longleaf Alliance: 170-174. Auburn University, AL
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