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Forests 2018, 9(10), 633; https://doi.org/10.3390/f9100633

Forty-Eight Years of Forest Succession: Tree Species Change across Four Forest Types in Mid-Missouri

School of Natural Resources, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA
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Received: 30 August 2018 / Revised: 26 September 2018 / Accepted: 11 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Forest Ecology and Management)
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Abstract

In the central and eastern United States, many forest ecosystems have undergone recent shifts in composition and structure that may conflict with contemporary management objectives. Long-term forest inventory data were used to determine patterns of forest succession over a 48-year period for four forest types in mid-Missouri: bottomlands, dry ridge and slope, glade-like, and mesic slopes. All forest types increased in stand basal area and overstory quadratic mean diameter through time, with concomitant decreases in the number of midstory trees. Sugar maple (Acer saccharum Marshall) increased in importance value on dry ridge and slope and mesic slope forest types, largely due to the accumulation of trees in smaller diameter classes. White oak (Quercus alba L.) increased in overstory basal area in dry ridge and slope plots through the duration of the study, whereas black oak (Quercus velutina Lam.) and Shumard oak (Quercus shumardii Buckley) decreased in overstory density and basal area through time. Oak stems were nearly absent from the midstory across forest types in the recent sampling, suggesting future challenges for maintaining oak-dominated canopies following attrition of canopy trees through time on upland forest types. In glade-like plots, eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana L.) increased in both overstory density and basal area through time, and Shumard oak decreased in density. The importance value of chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii Engelm.) in the overstory decreased through time in glade-like plots, largely due to the increase in density of eastern redcedar rather than the loss of chinkapin oak from the overstory. The patterns of succession in this forest landscape of mid-Missouri suggest that forest management may be needed to address two common contemporary concerns: (1) the need for increasing oak advance reproduction and recruitment to maintain oak as a canopy species; and (2) reducing eastern redcedar encroachment for glade restoration and management. View Full-Text
Keywords: advance reproduction; forest succession; glade restoration; oak regeneration advance reproduction; forest succession; glade restoration; oak regeneration
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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O. Knapp, B.; G. Pallardy, S. Forty-Eight Years of Forest Succession: Tree Species Change across Four Forest Types in Mid-Missouri. Forests 2018, 9, 633.

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