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Historical reconstructions of high-elevation spruce forests in the Appalachian mountainsAuthor(s): Carolyn A. Copenheaver
Source: In: Rentch, James S.; Schuler, Thomas M., eds. 2010. Proceedings from the conference on the ecology and management of high-elevation forests in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains; 2009 May 14-15; Slatyfork, WV. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-64. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 28-30.
Publication Series: Other
Station: Northern Research Station
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DescriptionThe objective of this study was to determine whether the historical distribution of a small, high-elevation red spruce stand could be reconstructed based upon historical records. The study site was Giles County, VA, where a small stand of red spruce exists today, indicating that it has been in this location for as long as the written record exists for this region. Working through three approaches, I attempted to locate this stand within public land survey records and their associated witness trees, historical photographs, and government documents. Each dataset originates from a different time period: the survey records from the early 1800s, the photographs from the late 1800s, and the government documents from the early 1900s. The witness-tree record from the land surveys contained no evidence that red spruce was present in Giles County. In the historical photographs, only three photographs out of 237 showed red spruce, and in the government documents there was no evidence of red spruce. These results indicate that in historical reconstructions of vegetation, it is highly likely that small populations will be missed. These reconstructions should be viewed as generalized representations of the forest communities of the past rather than thorough reconstructions.
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CitationCopenheaver, Carolyn A. 2010. Historical reconstructions of high-elevation spruce forests in the Appalachian mountains. In: Rentch, James S.; Schuler, Thomas M., eds. 2010. Proceedings from the conference on the ecology and management of high-elevation forests in the central and southern Appalachian Mountains; 2009 May 14-15; Slatyfork, WV. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-64. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 28-30.
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