Forest Succession After 43 Years Without Disturbance on Ex-arable Land, Northern Florida


Andre Clewell

Additional Authors:


December 2011


ABSTRACT Forest vegetation near Tallahassee, Florida was inventoried on a former cultivated field, called NB66h, which had been abandoned 43 yr earlier. Subsequently, the site suffered no disturbance and no colonization by alien invasive species. The canopy consisted of pines (Pinus taeda, P. echinata) and hardwoods, primarily Liquidambar styraciflua, Quercus nigra. Most tree species were characteristic of plant communities that historically occurred at lower slope positions in the landscape and not of presettlement upland shortleaf pine-oak-hickory woodland. Offsite species colonized surrounding uplands following abandonment of cotton plantations towards the end of the 19th century. Presettlement vegetation was represented by few species and individuals, and offsite species were abundant in every size class. Plant succession was arrested with little sign of directional development towards a predictable seral endpoint. Hypothesized seral trends towards proposed ‘‘climax’’ forests of magnolia-beech and southern mixed hardwoods were not supported