Changes in tree species diversity after successive clearcuts in the Southern Appalachians
A 16 ha watershed in the Coweeta Basin was clearcut in 1939 and 1962. Vegetation was inventoried in 1934 and at about 7-year intervals to 1991. After the first clearcut, tree diversity remained high until after the second cut. Diversity based on density and basal area decreased significantly 14 years after the second clearcut and remained low through 1991. Diversity was highest in the early establishment stage of stand development, then declined at the intermediate stage with canopy closure. Evenness based on basal area declined more than evenness based on density because basal area of Liriodendron tulipifera increased substantially from 1977 to 1991. Trends in diversity were due to changes in evenness rather than changes in species richness.