Short-Term Dynamics of Second-Growth Mixed Mesophytic Forest Strata in West Virginia


Cynthia D. Huebner

Additional Authors:

Steven L. Stephenson, Harold S. Adama, and Gary W. Miller


June – 2007


The short-term dynamics of mixed mesophytic forest strata in West Virginia were examined using similarity analysis and linear correlation of shared ordination space. The overstory tree, understory tree, shrub/vine, and herb strata were stable over a six year interval, whereas the tree seedling and sapling strata were unstable. All strata but the shrub/vine and tree seedling strata were correlated with soil pH, elevation, P, K, Fe, Mn, Ca, and Mg, with the latter two variables being the weakest for the overstory tree, understory tree, and sapling strata. The herb stratum was also significantly correlated with the shrub/vine and tree seedling strata. The soil fertility gradient corresponded with a moisture gradient. More xeric plots tended to be less stable than more mesic plots for all strata. Successful forest management may depend on knowledge of the lower tree strata species composition, because such composition will likely vary prior to future disturbance events.