Assessing anthropogenic and natural disturbances: forest response to similarly aged clearcut and tornado disturbances in an east Tennessee oak-hickory forest

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  • Authors: McGrath, Jonathan C.; Clatterbuck, Wayne K.
  • Publication Year: 2013
  • Publication Series: Paper (invited, offered, keynote)
  • Source: In: Guldin, James M., ed. 2013. Proceedings of the 15th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-GTR-175. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 81-90.

Abstract

In February of 1993, an F3 tornado caused a large-scale disturbance in an east Tennessee oak-hickory (Quercus spp.-Carya spp.) forest. Vegetation response to anthropogenic and natural disturbances was compared by examining two tornado-disturbed areas and five adjacent 1-acre silvicultural clearcut areas unaffected by the tornado disturbance. Nested overstory, midstory, and understory plots (0.1-, 0.02-, and 0.001-acre plots, respectively) were measured to determine species composition, species diversity, stocking, and structure, as well as coarse woody debris (CWD) volume, density, and percent cover. Results, 14 years postdisturbance, indicate that similarities exist in species composition and diversity between the clearcut and tornado areas, though differences in density do exist. Structural differences also occur between the two disturbance types. The presence of residual overstory and midstory trees in the tornado-disturbed areas caused the diameter distribution to have an irregular distribution compared to the typical even-aged distribution of the clearcut. CWD volume, density, and percent cover were significantly higher in the tornado-disturbed blocks.

  • Citation: McGrath, Jonathan C.; Clatterbuck, Wayne K. 2013. Assessing anthropogenic and natural disturbances: forest response to similarly aged clearcut and tornado disturbances in an east Tennessee oak-hickory forest. In: Guldin, James M., ed. 2013. Proceedings of the 15th biennial southern silvicultural research conference. e-Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-GTR-175. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station. 81-90.
  • Posted Date: May 20, 2013
  • Modified Date: May 20, 2013
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