Species Diversity and Composition in Old Growth and Second Growth Rich Coves of the Southern Appalachian Mountains


B. Clay Jackson

Additional Authors:

J. Dan Pittillo, H. Lee Allen, Thomas R. Wentworth, Bronson P. Bullock, David L. Loftis,


March 2009


ABSTRACT Because of ongoing debate over the long term impacts of logging, we conducted a study to assess if second growth (70 6 10 years) rich coves differ from old growth rich coves (. 125 years) in species diversity or composition. We sampled twenty-six 0.1 ha plots, representing these two age classes. We distributed the plots amongst three randomly selected mountain ranges in the southern Appalachians of North Carolina, and sampled each mountain range in separate years. We used nested subplots of 0.01 m2, 0.1 m2, 1 m2, 10 m2, 100 m2, and 1000 m2 to establish species-area relationships (SARs) for each age class. We found no significant differences between the SARs for the two age classes, nor did we find significant differences between age classes using the Simpson, Shannon-Wiener, or Sorensen indices of species diversity. However, we found that total cover of all plant species was greater in old growth rich coves, and that 10% of the tested species had lower abundance in second growth. No species were present in old growth and absent in second growth, but species with lower second growth abundance may warrant future study.