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Revisiting the Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America

JAMES M. DYER
BioScience
Vol. 56, No. 4 (April 2006), pp. 341-352
DOI: 10.1641/0006-3568(2006)56[341:rtdfoe]2.0.co;2
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/10.1641/0006-3568(2006)56[341:rtdfoe]2.0.co;2
Page Count: 12
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Revisiting the Deciduous Forests of Eastern North America
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Abstract

AbstractDeciduous Forests of Eastern North America, written by E. Lucy Braun and published in 1950, included a map depicting “original” (virgin) forest pattern. Her classification of forest regions remains an influential reference, though it was shaped by ecological assumptions that researchers consider outdated today. In this article, I present a new map of forest regions, using a data set from an extensive network of contemporary forest plots. Although there are differences between the two maps, including the homogenization of forests in the central section of the deciduous forest formation, the geography of Braun's forest regions is largely maintained. The similarities between the maps are noteworthy, considering the methodological differences in their creation and the intensive land use changes, fire suppression, introduction of exotic species, and changes in atmospheric chemistry that have occurred since Braun's work.

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