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Influence of an Old Field/Forest Edge on a Northeastern United States Deciduous Forest Understory Community

David Goldblum and Susan W. Beatty
The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society
Vol. 126, No. 4 (Oct. - Dec., 1999), pp. 335-343
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2997317
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2997317
Page Count: 9
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Influence of an Old Field/Forest Edge on a Northeastern United States Deciduous Forest Understory Community
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Abstract

We examined edge effects within a forest along old field boundaries in a mixed deciduous/hemlock forest community in upstate New York. Species composition and community structure of both forest understory and treefall gap vegetation were analyzed in two ways: first, we used belt transects to quantify changes in the understory community with distance from the forest edge, and second, we compared species composition of treefall gaps both near and distant from the edge. Exotic species and locally rare species were significantly more abundant at the forest edges than in the forest interior, while tree seedlings were less common at the forest edge. Species composition of treefall gaps near the old field/forest edge differed from composition of treefall gaps in the forest interior during most of the growing season. Treefall gaps at the forest edge, as a group, were compositionally more heterogeneous than treefall gaps distant from the edge.

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