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Arboreal Composition of a Pennsylvania Natural Area: Past, Present and Future

Nick B. Hunter and Kenneth J. Swisher
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 110, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1983), pp. 507-518
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2996285
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2996285
Page Count: 12
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Arboreal Composition of a Pennsylvania Natural Area: Past, Present and Future
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Abstract

Five species of pines native to Pennsylvania occur in the 247 ha Meeting of the Pines Natural Area located in southcentral Pennsylvania. The pines are found mostly as single trees or in small clumps. Recognizable stands of table mountain pine (Pinus pungens) and pitch pine (Pinus rigida) appear along a steep, rocky upper slope. Except for this narrow fringe of pine, the area is predominantly oak, chestnut oak (Quercus prinus) being most numerous. The present overstory forest is the result of nearly 2 centuries of human activity and natural responses, which are described. Studies conducted in the summer of 1980 document the present forest composition for overstory, understory, and seedling stages of arborescent species. The 1980 data show a substantial decline in the number and vigor of pines. This, combined with the lack of pine regeneration, indicates an uncertain future for the Meeting of the Pines Natural Area as a showplace for the pines of Pennsylvania.

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