Publication Details

Regional and geomorphic influence on the productivity, composition, and structure of oak ecosystems in the western central hardwoods region

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Steele, Amber M.; Kabrick, John M.; Miles, Randall J.

Year Published

2013

Publication

In: Miller, Gary W.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Brooks, John R.; Grushecky, Shawn T.; Spong, Ben D.; Rentch, James S., eds. Proceedings, 18th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2012 March 26-28; Morgantown, WV; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-117. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 80-92.

Abstract

The steeply dissected glaciated landscapes of the Chariton River Hills Ecological Subsection (CRHES) in northern Missouri have extensive, but largely unmanaged, oak forests that are relatively unstudied. There is increasing interest in these forests for oak ecosystem restoration, ecological site description, and production of oak timber for biofuels. Our objectives were to determine how productivity, composition, and structure varied across the CRHES and locally by slope position and aspect. We inventoried vegetation and soils at 48 sites on upper and lower slope positions paired by northeast-facing and southwest-facing aspect classes on six minimally disturbed sites across the CRHES. Among sites, the site index of the two most abundant species ranged from 51 to 58 feet (white oak) and 51 to 62 feet (northern red oak) For white oak, site index was significantly greater on north-facing aspects (P<0.01) and lower slopes (P=0.1). White oak stocking was greater on southwest-facing aspects (P<0.01) and on upper slopes (P=0.2). White oak, northern red oak, and black oak make up the majority of the overstory; however, ironwood, blackhaw, white ash, and other species make up most of the understory and the large advance reproduction layer. Meeting typical oak ecosystem restoration or oak regeneration objectives will require the application of prescribed fi re or other disturbances to reduce the understory density to provide light and growing space for a variety of woodland ground flora and oak seedlings, particularly on lower northeast-facing slopes.

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Citation

Steele, Amber M.; Kabrick, John M.; Miles, Randall J. 2013. Regional and geomorphic influence on the productivity, composition, and structure of oak ecosystems in the western central hardwoods region. In: Miller, Gary W.; Schuler, Thomas M.; Gottschalk, Kurt W.; Brooks, John R.; Grushecky, Shawn T.; Spong, Ben D.; Rentch, James S., eds. Proceedings, 18th Central Hardwood Forest Conference; 2012 March 26-28; Morgantown, WV; Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-117. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 80-92.

Last updated on: September 17, 2013