Publication Details

Beech status in New England's aftermath forests

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Year Published

2012

Publication

In: Morin, Randall S.; Liknes, Greg C., comps. Moving from status to trends: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2012; 2012 December 4-6; Baltimore, MD. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-105. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. [CD-ROM]: 192-198.

Abstract

American beech (Fagus grandifolia) is one of the three most dominant tree species occupying the northern hardwoods forest of New England. We studied Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and New York to capture those areas with higher concentrations of beech. The status of beech in the northern hardwood forests is important because of the long-term impacts of beech bark disease (BBD) (Neonectria ssp.) on the composition and regeneration of aftermath forests within the region. We assessed the current conditions of beech trees at the stand level by comparing 2011 Forest Inventory and Analysis survey data with the previous survey conducted on the same set of plots (2006). To understand the current impacts of BBD on forests, we compared the number of growing-stock trees, number of rough cull trees, number of rotten cull trees, number of standing dead trees, and number of mortality trees with an important associative species, sugar maple (Acer saccharum). To evaluate the impacts of BBD on stand regeneration, we also assessed the number of sapling-size trees of American beech and three of its close associates, sugar maple, yellow birch (Betula alleghaniensis), and eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Beech trees had 40 percent of their stocking classified as defective or dead; sugar maple stocking had less than 15 percent. Mortality tree numbers for American beech were highest in the larger diameter trees (11.0 inches diameter at breast height and larger) where BBD had been detected for less than 37 years, but were more equally distributed in older aftermath forests where BBD had been present for more than 60 years. The number of beech saplings increased while the numbers of its three associate tree species did not change significantly. Net growth of beech was increasing as a proportion of net growth for sugar maple.

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Citation

McCaskill, George L.; Morin, Randall S. 2012. Beech status in New England's aftermath forests. In: Morin, Randall S.; Liknes, Greg C., comps. Moving from status to trends: Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) symposium 2012; 2012 December 4-6; Baltimore, MD. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-105. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station. [CD-ROM]: 192-198.

Last updated on: February 5, 2013