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Title: Evergreen understory dynamics in Coweeta forest, North Carolina

Author: Dobbs, M.M.; Parker, Albert J.;

Date: 2004

Source: Physical Geography, Vol. 25(6): 481-498

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: A number of studies have elucidated the distributional patterns of various components of Southern Appalachian forests. The evergreen understory here is composed largely of a dominant ericaceous shrub, Rhododendron maximum L., which is believed to be expanding and inhibiting the development of other species with consequent impacts on overall forest structure and composition. We use a GIS and logistic regression to examine this less-studied forest element in the Coweeta Hydrological Laboratory, North Carolina, over a 17-year period to determine whether expansion is occurring and, if so, whether it can be predicted based on terrain characteristics. We examine two adjacent, physically similar basins with differing degrees of experimental manipulation in the 20th century in an attempt to examine the role of environmental and historical factors in determining spatial patterns of persistence, expansion, and decline of the evergreen understory. Results indicate that significant expansion of the evergreen understory occurred in both basins during the period 1976-1 993, and that stream proximity, topographic setting, and elevation are related to patterns of evergreen-understory dynamics. Patterns differ between the two basins, suggesting that disturbance and differing land-use histories are also influential. Predictive power of models based on terrain factors alone ranges from <1 10% to> 50%.

Keywords: vegetation dynamics, Appalachians, GIS, understory, Rhododendron maximum

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Dobbs, M.M.; Parker, Albert J. 2004. Evergreen understory dynamics in Coweeta forest, North Carolina. Physical Geography, Vol. 25(6): 481-498

 


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