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Temporal variation in species recruitment and dendroecology of an old-growth white oak forest in the Virginia Piedmont, USA

Summary: Temporal variation in species recruitment and dendroecology of an
old-growth white oak forest in the Virginia Piedmont, USA
Marc D. Abrams*
, Carolyn A. Copenheaver
School of Forest Resources, Ferguson Building, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA 16802, USA
Received 18 November 1998; accepted 4 February 1999
The composition and temporal variation in species recruitment were examined in relation to annual dendrochronological data
to determine the historical development and successional history of an old-growth mixed-oak (Quercus) forest in northern
Virginia, USA. A ridge site in the upland Piedmont, along the Potomac River, was used to survey the old-growth forest, which
is dominated by Quercus alba L., Q. rubra L., Liriodendron tulipifera L., Fagus grandifolia Ehrh., and Carya glabra (Mill.)
Sweet. The present age structure indicates that the oldest Q. alba established between 1748 and 1790. All tree species other
than Q. alba in the forest were <110 years of age, excluding a 166-year-old Nyssa sylvatica Marsh.. Quercus alba had fairly
continuous recruitment between 1740 and 1925. Peak recruitment of Q. rubra and C. glabra occurred between 1900 and 1930.
Since 1930, tree recruitment in the forest has been dominated by Fagus, Liriodendron, and Acer rubrum L.. Releases in radial
growth, indicative of moderate- and small-scale disturbances occurred in most of the oldest trees during the last 200 years. The
master tree-ring chronology exhibited a sharp decline from 1837 to 1844, associated with an extremely cold period in the
region, followed by a general increase from 1850 to 1930; growth remained high from 1930 to 1998. The shift in dominance
from white oak to red oak to mixed-mesophytic tree species after 1900 is consistent with successional variation in other oak
forests in the mid-Atlantic region. # 1999 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.


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


Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology