Event Title

Tree Fall Gap Characteristics within an Appalachian Hardwood Forest in West Virginia

Event Website

http://www.nafew2009.org/

Start Date

22-6-2009 10:50 AM

End Date

22-6-2009 11:10 AM

Description

We examined the attributes of canopy gaps on the 3,100 ha West Virginia University Research Forest (WVURF) near Morgantown, WV. The WVURF is a 70-80 year-old, second-growth, Appalachian hardwood forest. The objectives of this study were: 1) to describe specific gap characteristics (size, age, and fraction) of the forest as a whole, and 2) to assess whether gap characteristics varied by slope position (cove, mid, ridge), aspect (NE, NW, SE, SW), and forest cover type (cove hardwood, mesic oak, xeric oak). Transect lines were digitized using GIS in ArcMap and systematically placed throughout the forest to include a range of aspects and slope positions. Sixty transects were established, with a total length of 22,508 m. Line intersect sampling was used to select gaps. Eighty gaps were identified. The average gap size was 98.59 (+134.17) m². The average expanded gap size was 287.64 (+ 238.49) m². Gap age ranged from 2-29 years old with a mean age of 16.42 (+6.3) years. Overall, 2.73 (+2.48) % of the forest was composed of gaps. These figures are small compared to old growth forests in the region. WVURF is a young forest, therefore the gaps created are relatively small and scattered. We speculate the WVURF remains in the late stem exclusion to early understory re-initiation stage. There were no differences in gap size by aspect or slope position. Cove hardwoods had larger gap sizes than mesic and xeric oak. There were no differences in gap age based on slope position, aspect, or forest type. Gap fraction did not differ by slope position, but gap fraction was greatest on northwest slopes and in cove hardwoods. Gap fraction showed a significant interaction between aspect and position.

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Jun 22nd, 10:50 AM Jun 22nd, 11:10 AM

Tree Fall Gap Characteristics within an Appalachian Hardwood Forest in West Virginia

We examined the attributes of canopy gaps on the 3,100 ha West Virginia University Research Forest (WVURF) near Morgantown, WV. The WVURF is a 70-80 year-old, second-growth, Appalachian hardwood forest. The objectives of this study were: 1) to describe specific gap characteristics (size, age, and fraction) of the forest as a whole, and 2) to assess whether gap characteristics varied by slope position (cove, mid, ridge), aspect (NE, NW, SE, SW), and forest cover type (cove hardwood, mesic oak, xeric oak). Transect lines were digitized using GIS in ArcMap and systematically placed throughout the forest to include a range of aspects and slope positions. Sixty transects were established, with a total length of 22,508 m. Line intersect sampling was used to select gaps. Eighty gaps were identified. The average gap size was 98.59 (+134.17) m². The average expanded gap size was 287.64 (+ 238.49) m². Gap age ranged from 2-29 years old with a mean age of 16.42 (+6.3) years. Overall, 2.73 (+2.48) % of the forest was composed of gaps. These figures are small compared to old growth forests in the region. WVURF is a young forest, therefore the gaps created are relatively small and scattered. We speculate the WVURF remains in the late stem exclusion to early understory re-initiation stage. There were no differences in gap size by aspect or slope position. Cove hardwoods had larger gap sizes than mesic and xeric oak. There were no differences in gap age based on slope position, aspect, or forest type. Gap fraction did not differ by slope position, but gap fraction was greatest on northwest slopes and in cove hardwoods. Gap fraction showed a significant interaction between aspect and position.

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