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Vegetation Patterns on a Southern Appalachian Watershed

Day, Frank P., Monk, Carl D.
Ecology 1974 v.55 no.5 pp. 1064-1074
Cryphonectria parasitica, Quercus, aboveground biomass, analytical methods, basal area, biogeography, botanical composition, forested watersheds, hardwood forests, principal component analysis, soil water, stream channels, North Carolina
The vegetation on a relatively undisturbed hardwood forest watershed at Coweeta Hydrologic Laboratory, Franklin, North Carolina was sampled, and estimates of density, basal area, and above—ground biomass were computed. These vegetational parameters and five topographic variables (elevation, aspect, slope angle, distance from stream channel, and distance from water divide) were used to analyze site—species relationships on the watershed. The primary analytical techniques used were correlation analysis and principal components ordination. Major changes in the vegetation since the introduction of chestnut blight were also examined. The vegetation on the watershed was found to be dominated by oaks, though considerable change had occurred in the vegetation composition since the appearance of chestnut blight. Total basal area on the watershed was 25.6 m²/ha and the total above—ground biomass was 139,900 kg/ha. Significant correlations were found between 13 major species and one or more of the topographic variables. The ordination results revealed species groupings related to the correlation results. Distance from the stream, distance from the water divide and elevation, which produce a soil moisture gradient, were the important topographic factors determining species distribution at Coweeta.