Study of Understory Vegetation at The University of Mississippi Field Station in North Mississippi


Rani Menon

Additional Authors:

Marjorie M. Holland


March 2012


Disturbance, Lonicera japonica, Microstegium vimineum, Mississippi, understory vegetation

ABSTRACT The University of Mississippi Field Station is a 300-hectare area located in the Eocene Hills of the interior coastal plain of the southeastern US. Twenty long-term monitoring plots were established in 1996 following a major ice storm. Plots were sampled for understory (vegetation less than 1.5 m height) vegetation from 1996 to 2008 to study the changes in vegetation due to natural disturbance and to study the spread of invasive species. Species richness, total percent foliar cover, total percent open space and importance values (based on frequency and cover) were determined. Results indicate that there are 345 vascular plant species belonging to 90 families at the University of Mississippi Field Station (UMFS). Poaceae was the most abundant family followed by Asteraceae and Fabaceae. Understory species richness increased from 73 in 1996 to 195 in 2008. Mean percent foliar cover decreased from 58% in 1996 to 32% in 2008. Importance values for the invasive species Microstegium vimineum and Lonicera japonica decreased in 2008. Native species such as Andropogon virginicus and Vitis rotundifolia became dominant in 2008. Thus, there was a shift in vegetation with native species becoming more prevalent and displacing invasive species.