Forest Development in North America Following Major Disturbances
Forest Ecology and Management
Large-scale, man-created or natural disturbances play a mjaor role in determining forest structure and species composition in many areas of North America and probably other temperate and tropical forests. Trees begin growth by a variety of mechanisms — each of which can respond to disturbances of a different severity. Studies suggest: a single group of species is not predestined to inhabit an area; forest physiognomic appearances assumed to imply all-aged succession often occur in single-age class stands; and recruitment of new stems into a forest often follows a disturbance rather than being a constant occurrence. After disturbances, forests develop through general physiognomic stages: “stand initiation”, “stem exclusion”, “understory reinitiation”, and “old growth”. Disturbance severity determines which species will dominate the forest afterward. The frequency of disturbances is also important in determining the general forest type over a large area, because species dominance and stand physiognomy change with time following disturbance.
Oliver, C.D. Forest development in North America following major disturbances. For. Ecol. Manag. 1981, 3, 153-168.