Skip to Main Content
Changes in Composition of the Mixed Mesophytic Forest: Effects of Succession and DisturbanceAuthor(s): Jim Steinman
Source: USDA Forest Service NA-TP-04-99 Northeastern Area
Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
PDF: View PDF (1.8 MB)
DescriptionThis study investigated the hypothesis that air pollution is causing mortality of the larger overstory trees, which results in a shift in species composition. To determine if the theorized shifts in species composition have occurred, this study compared historical changes in forest composition as described by Braun (1940) with more recent changes as quantified by the Forest Inventory Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service. FIA estimated recent composition changes using records of live, dead, and cut trees from 5,404 randomly sampled plots. Analyses suggest that the forest overstory consisted mostly of late-successional species in the 1940s and early- and mid-successional species in the 1980s. Thus, differences were most likely due to disturbances (insects and diseases, fire, weather, pollution) that killed trees, which allowed pioneer species to occupy openings. Forest succession may account for the 6 percent of dead trees in the 1980s since the percentages of dead trees were significantly greater among early-successional species. Percentages and spatial gradients of dead trees of species tolerant to air pollutants were similar to dead trees of intolerant species. Most of the 4 percent of all trees cut in the 1980s were not late-successional species, which may have favored successional trends.
- You may send email to firstname.lastname@example.org to request a hard copy of this publication.
- (Please specify exactly which publication you are requesting and your mailing address.)
- We recommend that you also print this page and attach it to the printout of the article, to retain the full citation information.
- This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
CitationSteinman, Jim 1999. Changes in Composition of the Mixed Mesophytic Forest: Effects of Succession and Disturbance. USDA Forest Service NA-TP-04-99 Northeastern Area
Keywordsmixed mesophytic forest, tree mortality, succession, disturbances, air pollutants
- Composition, potential old growth, fragmentation, and ownership of Mississippi Alluvial Valley bottomland hardwoods: a regional assessment of historic change
- Thirty year change in lodgepole and lodgepole/mixed conifer forest structure following 1980s mountain pine beetle outbreak in western Colorado, USA
- Composition, structure, and dendroecology of an old-growth Quercus forest on the tablelands of the Cumberland Plateau, USA.
XML: View XML