Understanding the shifting spatial distribution of trees is central to our knowledge of forest dynamics. We studied the spatial distribution of Tsuga canadensis L. Carr (Eastern Hemlock) as a function of age and size of canopy trees (greater than 75 cm dbh) and proximity to a stream in a remnant old growth forest fragment that has no record of human clearing or logging (Cathedral State Park, West Virginia). There appeared to be relatively continuous regeneration; however, cohort peaks indicated some disturbance history. We found spatially distinct age structures, with trees up to 315 years old. Trees greater than 102 cm dbh, or greater than 241 years old, were, on average, significantly closer to the stream. We suspect that the oldest individuals are concentrated near the stream because they are sheltered from wind disturbance. This knowledge can help us prioritize sites that are most important to protect from the woolly adelgid (Adelges tsugae Annand) when treating individual trees.
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