Response of Vascular Plant Communities to Harvest in Southern Appalachian Mixed-Oak Forests: Two-Year Results
A long-term study has been established to monitor the effects of seven silvicultural prescriptions on vascular flora community attributes. Treatments include a control, understory vegetation control, group selection, two levels of shelterwoods, leave-tree, and clearcut. Second growing season. post-treatment results are compared to pre-harvest values for residual~basal area, residual mean diameter, and species richness. Species richness is a count of species per defined unit of area. Species richness is reported for tree, shrub, and herb strata, as well as at an overall treatment level. Following treatment, mean residual basal area and diameters are within or near cutting specification ranges for all treatments. Tree stratum species richness declines with increasing canopy disturbance. Shrub stratum species richness appears unaffected by treatment. Similarly, richness of woody species in the herb stratum does not change in response to treatment. An increase in richness of non-woody spades in the herb stratum is detectable at a large sampling scale, but not at finer sales.