Skip to Main Content
U.S. Forest Service
Caring for the land and serving people

United States Department of Agriculture

Home > Search > Publication Information

  1. Share via EmailShare on FacebookShare on LinkedInShare on Twitter
    Dislike this pubLike this pub
    Author(s): J.Q. Burkhart; J.R. Rentch; T.M. Schuler
    Date: 2013
    Source: Natural Areas Journal. 33(2): 156-162.
    Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
    Station: Northern Research Station
    PDF: Download Publication  (229.0 KB)


    Identifying habitat preferences of species of concern is fundamental to the practice of conservation, but disturbances and other environmental processes can substantially affect suitability. Trifolium stoloniferum, or running buffalo clover, is a federally endangered plant species that occurs on the Fernow Experimental Forest in West Virginia. Previous work and extensive anecdotal evidence suggests that this species is maintained in part by periodic disturbances to its habitat. In the Fernow Experimental Forest, this disturbance is in the form of intermittent logging activities. We investigated the role of forest harvesting practices and environmental variables in fostering T. stoloniferum at the stand level. Censuses have been conducted on T. stoloniferum occurrences in the Fernow since 1994, and occurrences are grouped by subcompartment or watershed, which are the basic management units within this experimental forest. Site characteristics and disturbance history were assessed for their impact upon T. stoloniferum presence and density. Classification tree analysis identified total number of forest harvest events in a subcompartment since 1948 as the most important predictor of T. stoloniferum presence or absence. Regression tree analysis identified aspect as important in determining T. stoloniferum abundance, with west-facing compartments supporting larger populations. This study confirms the importance of disturbance in maintaining T. stoloniferum populations. However, site characteristics independent of disturbance history are also predictors of T. stoloniferum presence and abundance, suggesting that managers attempting to restore or create habitat for T. stoloniferum should account for the interaction between disturbance history and site characters in determining suitability of habitat for T. stoloniferum.

    Publication Notes

    • 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, 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.


    Burkhart, J.Q.; Rentch, J.R.; Schuler, T.M. 2013. Effects of forest management on running buffalo clover (Trifolium stoloniferum Muhl Ex A Eaton) distribution and abundance in the Fernow Experimental Forest. Natural Areas Journal. 33(2): 156-162.


    Google Scholar


    disturbance, endangered plant, non-equilibrium coexistence, timber harvesting

    Related Search

    XML: View XML
Show More
Show Fewer
Jump to Top of Page