Long and short term changes in the forests of the Cumberland Plateau and Mountains using large scale forest inventory dataThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
The Cumberland Plateau and Mountains (CPM) are a significant component of the eastern deciduous forest with biological and cultural resources strongly connected to and dependent upon the forest resources of the region. As a result, continuous inventory and monitoring is critical. The USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) program has been collecting data within the region since the 1950’s, and provides a valuable resource for tracking the status of the CPM forests. Using two different datasets derived from large scale inventories within the region, both historical trends and short-term changes are analyzed. Across the CPM region, timberland has experienced less than a 1 percent decline from the early 1950’s to present. Concomitantly, the CPM region has experienced a significant increase in standing growing stock volume. Volume estimates have increased between 100 and 200 percent across the region since the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. The CPM region currently contains an estimated 9.8 million acres of forest land and 18.2 billion cubic feet of volume. Both long-term and short-term changes indicate a stable forestland base within the region. While forests have shifted within the region from one forest type to another, the CPM continues to be dominated by natural hardwood forests.