A preliminary test of an ecological classification system for the Oconee National Forest using forest inventory and analysis dataThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
An ecological classification system (ECS) has been developed for use in evaluating management, conservation and restoration options for forest and wildlife resources on the Oconee National Forest. Our study was the initial evaluation of the ECS to determine if the units at each level differed in potential productivity. We used loblolly pine (Pinus taeda) site index from field plots inventoried by the forest inventory and analysis group of the Forest Service as a measure of productivity at each hierarchical level. The classification system performed best at the landtype level where it identified significant differences in site index between exposed slopes (82 feet) and sheltered slopes (94 feet). Results were less conclusive at the landtype association level, where no clear differences in site index were found among seven units. Results of this preliminary test suggest the ECS will be useful as a guide for diversifying forest cover composition by identifying land units that differ in environmental properties associated with productivity.