1 April 2006 Community Composition and Structural Changes in a Managed Illinois Ozark Hills Forest
Trevor B. Ozier, John W. Groninger, Charles M. Ruffner
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Forest stand dynamics were evaluated in a previously managed Quercus-Carya-dominated forest inventoried in 1980 and 2000, a period during which all active forest management was suspended and fire suppression was complete. The diameter distribution superficially resembled a stable unevenaged structure. Over the course of the study, smaller diameter classes were increasingly dominated by shade tolerant species Acer saccharum and Fagus grandifolia across all landscape positions. Diameter distribution changes varied among Quercus species with Q. alba and Q. rubra basal area increasing 63 and 45%, respectively, and Q. velutina decreasing 25% in the >43.2 cm size class. Combined Q. alba, Q. rubra and Q. velutina density decreased 56% in the <27.9 cm size classes.

Transition towards a mesophyte-dominated forest is occurring across all positions in this topographically-diverse landscape, although more slowly on the drier, less productive aspects and slope positions. These changes are comparable to those reported in undisturbed forests of similar overstory composition. The results suggest that sustaining a sizeable component of the presently dominant overstory species will require remedial management strategies that take into account the regeneration requirements of Quercus, Carya and other presently dominant taxa. The decrease in Q. velutina density in the >43.2 cm size class suggests a decline in the regeneration potential of this short lived species.

Trevor B. Ozier, John W. Groninger, and Charles M. Ruffner "Community Composition and Structural Changes in a Managed Illinois Ozark Hills Forest," The American Midland Naturalist 155(2), 253-269, (1 April 2006). https://doi.org/10.1674/0003-0031(2006)155[253:CCASCI]2.0.CO;2
Accepted: 1 August 2005; Published: 1 April 2006
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