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Status and trends of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) in the central United States: Analyses and observations based on Forest Inventory and Analysis dataAuthor(s): Dacia M. Meneguzzo; Greg C. Liknes
Source: Journal of Forestry. 113(3): 325-334.
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
Station: Northern Research Station
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Eastern Redcedar Forests are Expanding in the Central United States
DescriptionEastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) (ERC) is a conifer native to North America that has been used for a variety of wood products, and its planting has been encouraged to help stabilize soil, reforest abandoned farmland, and provide cover for wildlife. However, ERC tends to expand rapidly and take over certain areas primarily because it can grow on a wide variety of soils and tolerates salt and harsh climatic conditions. As a result of this invasive behavior, the ERC composition of central United States forestlands has been on the rise over several decades. To evaluate the current status and recent trends of ERC on forestland in eight central states, we analyzed forest resource data collected annually from 2001 to 2012 by the Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program of the USDA Forest Service at county, state, and regional levels. Our results indicate that ERC increased in terms of area, density, and volume across a range of diameter classes. In addition, ERC seedling abundance increased, and we found a statistically significant relationship between decreasing tree species diversity and ERC basal area proportion. We draw several conclusions from these analyses: (1) the geographic distribution of ERC in central US forestlands is widespread, but varies in density, (2) the area of ERC forestland increased most significantly in Nebraska and Missouri during the early 2000s, (3) the density and volume of ERC are on the rise in the region, and (4) the changes in seedling species abundance and the negative association between diversity and ERC presence suggest that the future composition of forests in the region could be altered if the current trends in ERC invasion continue.
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CitationMeneguzzo, Dacia M.; Liknes, Greg C. 2015. Status and trends of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) in the central United States: Analyses and observations based on Forest Inventory and Analysis data. Journal of Forestry. 113(3): 325-334.
Keywordsforest inventory, eastern redcedar, biological invasion, species diversity
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