Vegetation Change in a Former Chestnut Stand on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee during an 80-year Period (1921-2000)


Benda R. Myers

Additional Authors:

Jeffrey L. Walck and Kurt E. Blum


June – 2004


Chestnut Stand, Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee

A former chestnut stand on the Cumberland Plateau of Tennessee was sampled in 1952/53, 1979, and 2000. The site was clear-cut in 1921/22, and has remained unburnt and relatively undisturbed. Chestnut stumps are present, but sprouts are not. Liriodendron tulipifera remained important in the canopy since 1952/53. Acer rubrum and A. saccharum increased in the canopy, but only A. rubrum did so in the subcanopy. Quercus rubra/velutina increased in the canopy, and decreased in the subcanopy. Shade- intolerant (Juglans nigra, Liquidambar styraciflua, Ulmus rubra, Fraxinus americana) and shade-tolerant (Tilia americana, Aesculus flava) species declined, perhaps due to absence of large-scale disturbance needed for regeneration. Juglans cinerea and Cornus florida were impacted by fungal pathogens. Although J. cinerea was an important replacement species, no individuals are currently present. Cornus florida is present in the canopy, but not in the subcanopy. Lindera benzoin and Viburnum acerifolium increased, apparently in response to C. florida’s decline.