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Oak Forest Composition on Contrasting Soil Types at the Mohonk Preserve, Eastern New York

Summary: Oak Forest Composition on Contrasting Soil Types
at the Mohonk Preserve, Eastern New York
Marc D. Abrams and Benjamin A. Sands
This research investigated overstory and understory forest composition for 10 sites derived from either shale or sandstone conglomerate parent material on
the Shawangunk Ridge in eastern New York. Overstory composition in both soil types was dominated by red oak (Quercus rubra) and chestnut oak (Quercus
montana), but the overstory on shale sites was more diverse (14 tree species) and had less oak than sandstone sites (with only 6 tree species). A total of
17 species were recorded as regeneration on shale sites, where seedlings averaged 21,466/ha and saplings averaged 1,833/ha. Dominant seedling on shale
sites were chestnut oak (7,100/ha) and red oak (3,583/ha); chestnut oak had significantly more seedlings on shale versus sandstone sites. Saplings on shale
sites were predominantly Hamamelis virginiana and Acer pensylvanicum. On sandstone sites, seedlings averaged 6,425/ha (including 2,075 oaks and 2,250
red maple per ha). Sapling numbers for all species were low (1,400/ha) and were mostly red maple. These forests are unique because of the relatively high
density of oak seedlings on certain sites and low density of red maple across all sites. This variation in regeneration as well as management strategies to promote
additional oak regeneration and canopy recruitment are discussed for these and similar forests.
Keywords: red oak, chestnut oak, red maple, forest ecology, ecological management
ak (Quercus) species dominated much of the eastern
United States forest biome during the last 7,0009,000
years (reviewed in Abrams 2002, Abrams and Nowacki
2008). Low to moderate levels of biotic and abiotic disturbance and
climate change were an intrinsic part of the Holocene ecology, re-
sulting in a dynamic equilibrium in oak forest structure and com-


Source: Abrams, Marc David - School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology