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Title: Structural characteristics of late-sucessional pine-hardwood forest following recent infestation by southern pine beetle in the Georgia Piedmont, USA

Author: Harrington, Timothy B.; Xu, Mingguang; Edwards, M. Boyd;

Date: 2000

Source: Natural Areas Journal 20:360-365

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: At Murder Creek Research Natural Area, Georgia, USA, we compared structural characteristics of late-successional pine-hardwood stands two to three years after infestation by southern pine beetle (Dendroctonus frontalis Zimmerman) to those of adjacent noninfested stands. Death of up to eight Pinus taeda L. and P. echinata Mill. per mortality patch reduced stem density of pines from 399 to 205 trees ha-1. Stand basal area and average diameter of pines in beetle-infested stands (9.0 m2 ha-1 and 26.9 cm, respectively) were less than those of noninfested stands (30.6 m2 ha-1 and 38.5 cm, respectively). Stand basal area of hardwoods in southern pine beetle-infested stands (9.1 m2 ha-1) was less than that of noninfested stands (14.5 m2 ha-1) primarily because of lower abundances of Liquidambar styraciflua L. and Acer barbatum Michx. However, tree species diversity in beetle-infested stands exceeded that on noninfested stands (Simpson's indices of 0.69 and 0.55, respectively) because proportionate abundance of hardwoods (67% and 33% of total stand basal area, respectively) was increased by the death of pines. Results indicate that small patch mortality from southern pine beetle increased structural complexity of late successional pine hard-wood stands by causing localized reductions in stem density of large pines (and therefore reduced susveptibility to future beetle attacks) and associated increases in tree species diversity. Development of several old-growth characteristics, particularly increased abundance of snags and dominance by late-successional hardwood species, has been accelerated by southern pine beetle infestation.

Keywords: Canopy gay dynamics, Dendroctonus frontalis, Pinus echinata, Pinus taeda, tree species diversity

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Harrington, Timothy B.; Xu, Mingguang; Edwards, M. Boyd 2000. Structural characteristics of late-sucessional pine-hardwood forest following recent infestation by southern pine beetle in the Georgia Piedmont, USA. Natural Areas Journal 20:360-365


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