Successional forest dynamics 30 years following clearcutting
For the past several decades, clearcuts on experimental watersheds have provided an opportunity to examine how these large-scale forest disturbances influence various ecosystem processes, including stream hydrology, soil eriosion, nutrient cycling, and vegetation diversity and successional patterns. For the investigation of vegetation diversity and successional patterns in the WS 7 clearcut in the Coweeta basin, inventories were conducted 1, 3, 8, 17, 20, and 30 years after disturbance. Other, related nitrogen cycling and productivity studies were conducted in early successional black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia) stands on both WS 7 and the old-field successional WS 6. These Coweeta studies collectively examined the role of dominant early successional species in forest recovery and ecosystem processes and addressed impacts of disturbance on longer-term species composition and diversity.