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    Author(s): Steven W. Oak
    Date: 2002
    Source: The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 2002
    Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication
    PDF: View PDF  (1.4 MB)


    Southern Appalachian forest landscapes evoke images of the primeval forest in many people today. Indeed, most vegetation components in these forests have been present in varying mixtures and distributions for at least 58 million years (Delcourt and Delcourt 1981). However, the only thing constant about these landscapes has been change. Advancing and retreating ice sheets, drought, flood, wind, and fire all served to shape forest composition and structure. Irrepressible as these forces are, people have been perhaps the most important change agents since arriving in the region at least 9,000 years ago (DeVivo 1991, Hudson and Tesser 1993). In this context, the types and sequence of human-influenced disturbances since the middle of the 19th century have resulted in Southern Appalachian forests that bear little resemblance in terms of composition and structure to any that have existed in the past. These disturbances include the widespread use of fire, first by native people and then by European settlers; land clearing and agriculture followed by abandonment of marginally productive lands; widespread and sometimes abusive logging to supply fuel and building materials to a growing nation; industrialization and concurrent urbanization; and the implementation of aggressive fire suppression.

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    Oak, Steven W. 2002. From the Bronx to Birmingham: Impact of Chestnut Blight and Management Practices on Forest Health Risks in the Southern Appalachian Mountains. The Journal of The American Chestnut Foundation, Vol. 16, No. 1, Fall 2002

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