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Structure, composition, and condition of overstory trees

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Yaussy, Daniel A.; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy

Year Published

2003

Publication

In: Sutherland, Elaine K.; Hutchinson, Todd F., eds. Characteristics of mixed oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 99-111

Abstract

The structure, composition, and condition of overstory trees in the four study areas prior to prescribed fire treatments are summarized. Stand initiation dates were similar among the study areas (ca. 1885), and coincided with the decline of the charcoal iron industry in southern Ohio. Tree basal area averaged 26.8m²/ha and was not significantly different among Integrated Moisture Index classes. Tree density averaged 378 trees/ha and was highest on xeric plots (407/ha). Diameter growth averaged 3.6 mm/year and was greatest in areas with higher concentrations of soil nitrogen or base cations. Branch dieback was 20 percent or less for 96 percent of the 4,894 overstory trees, and foliage transparency was 20 percent or less for about 90 percent of the trees, indicating good crown condition. Twenty-nine species were recorded, the most abundant of which were white oak (79 trees/ha), red maple (52.9/ha), chestnut oak (49.2/ha), hickories (37/ha), and sugar maple (31.6/ha). Despite the abundance of red maple and sugar maple, most of these trees were in the smaller diameter classes (10 to 25 cm d.b.h.), suggesting more recent recruitment in the stands. Although oaks continue to dominate the overstory of these stands, the abundance of shade-tolerant species in the smaller size classes indicates consistent successional trends across the landscape, particularly on intermediate and mesic sites.

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Citation

Yaussy, Daniel A.; Hutchinson, Todd F.; Sutherland, Elaine Kennedy. 2003. Structure, composition, and condition of overstory trees. In: Sutherland, Elaine K.; Hutchinson, Todd F., eds. Characteristics of mixed oak forest ecosystems in southern Ohio prior to the reintroduction of fire. Gen. Tech. Rep. NE-299. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northeastern Research Station. 99-111

Last updated on: June 4, 2007