Composition, structure, and dynamics of a mature, unmanaged, pine-dominated old-field stand in southeastern Arkansas

  • Authors: Bragg, Don C.; Heitzman, Eric
  • Publication Year: 2009
  • Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
  • Source: Southeastern Naturalist 8(3): 445-470


This study describes the composition and structure of a mature, second-growth
Pinus taeda (Loblolly Pine) and Pinus echinata (Shortleaf Pine)-dominated
old-field stand. Now owned by the University of Arkansas, this 22.5-ha parcel just
outside of the city of Monticello, AR, has been protected as a de facto natural area
since the 1950s. Many of the overstory pines exceeded 75 cm in diameter at breast
height (DBH) and some have reached 100 cm. Increment cores indicated that most
of the pine overstory originated between 80 and 100 years ago, probably following
agricultural abandonment. Pine recruitment occurred somewhat gradually until
the canopy closed, after which tree species establishment became dominated by
hardwoods. Of the nearly 6000 tree seedlings/saplings per hectare in the interior of
this stand, just under 4% were pine—the under- and midstory were dominated by
shade-tolerant hardwoods. No obvious evidence of past land-management practices
remained, save the rare old stump or formerly open-grown pine or oak. Coarse
woody debris is beginning to accumulate in some portions of the stand, primarily
from the senescence of short-lived hardwoods. Comparisons with other tracts in
southern Arkansas suggest that this stand differs from other contemporary examples
of mature pine-dominated timber, with a richness in composition and structure not
apparent in managed stands of natural or planted origin.

  • Citation: Bragg, Don C.; Heitzman, Eric. 2009. Composition, structure, and dynamics of a mature, unmanaged, pine-dominated old-field stand in southeastern Arkansas. Southeastern Naturalist. 8(3): 445-470.
  • Posted Date: October 15, 2009
  • Modified Date: September 13, 2010
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