Redstone Arsenal (RA) is a large federal landholding (15,050 ha) managed by the U.S. Department of the Army located on the Highland Rim of north Alabama. This large landholding provided a unique opportunity to document forest vegetation and development patterns in a region with a paucity of quantitative information. In this study, we quantified land cover types, delineated forest stands on the reserve using a GIS, and assessed forest composition and structural measures. Stands were classed into Pinus, hardwood, mixed Pinus-hardwood, and forested wetland types. The majority of land area in stands ≥ 2 ha was hardwood dominated, while the majority of the land area in stands < 2 ha was Pinus dominated. We used a stratified random scheme to establish sampling points (n = 684) within forest stands through the RA. Pinus taeda, Liquidambar styraciflua, and Quercus phellos were the three most important tree species in the RA forest. Biodiversity for the forest was relatively high with a tree species richness of 56 and diversity (H') of 2.50. Total forest evenness (J) was 0.62, but this value was lowered by the abundance of Pinus in plantation management. Average stand age was 38 years with a range from 7 to 90 years. Basal area was 22.6 m2 ha-1 and we expect this value to increase with forest age. Significant differences were noted between tree age and height across the three surveyed forest types. Our results provide information on forest conditions in an understudied region.
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Vol. 31 • No. 3