Skip to Main Content
Due to a lapse in federal funding, this USDA website will not be actively updated. Once funding has been reestablished, online operations will continue.
Ground cover in old-growth forests of the central hardwood regionAuthor(s): Martin A. Spetich; Stephen R. Shifley; George R. Parker; Felix, Jr. Ponder
Source: In: Pallardy, Stephen G.; Cecich, Robert A.; Garrett, H. Gene; Johnson, Paul S., eds. Proceedings of the 11th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-188. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 152-160
Publication Series: General Technical Report (GTR)
Station: North Central Research Station
PDF: View PDF (1.53 MB)
DescriptionDifferences in ground cover (percent cover of litter, percent cover of vegetation and litter weight) in old-growth forests across this region are not well understood. We initiated a long-term study in a three-state region to enhance knowledge in this area. We present baseline results for ground cover and compare these data across productivity regions. Thirty 0.25-ac (0.1-ha) main plots and 120 subplots 27 ft² (2.5 m²) in size were established in each old-growth forest and used to inventory ground cover. We estimated percent cover of: bare ground, boles of woody vegetation, dead leaves, downed woody material, exposed rock, and herbaceous cover. In addition, 240 subplots 1.35 ft² (0.125 m²) in size were used to estimate dry weight of litter down to the mineral soil horizon. Trends among sites were compared to a regional productivity gradient. Across all sites, mean values for percent ground cover were: bare ground, 6% (SD 10%); boles of woody vegetation ≥3.3 ft tall, 2% (SD 1%); dead leaves and dead herbaceous vegetation, 85% (SD 10%); downed woody material, 5% (SD 1%); exposed rock, 1% (SD 2%); other, 1% (SD 2%). Mean litter weight across all sites was 6.8 tons/ac (SD 3.1 tons/ac) [15.3 metric tons/ha (SD 7 metric tons/ha)]. Differences in litter weight were not significant between northeast and southwest slopes. The inverse relationship of percent cover of exposed rock to regional productivity class was highly significant (R² = 0.88 for negative exponential model, p-value < 0.01). The positive linear relationship between litter weight and productivity class was also significant (R² = 0.55, p-value = 0.01).
- Check the Northern Research Station web site to request a printed copy of this publication.
- Our on-line publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat.
- During the capture process some typographical errors may occur.
- Please contact Sharon Hobrla, firstname.lastname@example.org if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
- 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.
CitationSpetich, Martin A.; Shifley, Stephen R.; Parker, George R.; Ponder, Felix, Jr. 1997. Ground cover in old-growth forests of the central hardwood region. In: Pallardy, Stephen G.; Cecich, Robert A.; Garrett, H. Gene; Johnson, Paul S., eds. Proceedings of the 11th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; Gen. Tech. Rep. NC-188. St. Paul, MN: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, North Central Forest Experiment Station: 152-160
- Fuel Load (FL)
- Growth and yield for a 7-year-old yellow-poplar plantation in northern West Virginia
- Contribution of dead wood to biomass and carbon stocks in the Caribbean: St. John, U.S. Virgin Islands
XML: View XML