Status and trends of bottomland hardwood forests in the mid-Atlantic Region
Bottomland hardwood forests cover approximately 2.9 million acres of the Coastal Plain and Piedmont region of Virginia and North Carolina. As of 2014, 59 percent of bottomland hardwood forests were in the large-diameter stand-size class. Between 2002 and 2014, area of large-diameter sized stands increased, while that of medium- and small-diameter stands decreased, indicating that the resource is maturing. While total volume of live trees remained steady over the period studied (2002–2014), there were increases in volume for some individual species (for example, white oak) and decreases in volume for others (for example, red oak). Bottomland hardwood forests in the mid-Atlantic support a wide range of tree species. Mortality was at an all-time high in these forests around 2005, but has steadily decreased since then. The Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis program is the only entity that conducts forest assessments across all land in the United States. Increasing demands on the resource and anthropogenic-related impacts on forests have intensified the need to conduct ecosystem-based inventories such as these.