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Vegetation Patterns and Structure of an Old-Growth Forest in Southeastern Ohio

Brian C. McCarthy, Charles A. Hammer, Gary L. Kauffman and Philip D. Cantino
Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club
Vol. 114, No. 1 (Jan. - Mar., 1987), pp. 33-45
Published by: Torrey Botanical Society
DOI: 10.2307/2996387
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2996387
Page Count: 13
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Vegetation Patterns and Structure of an Old-Growth Forest in Southeastern Ohio
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Abstract

A large, minimally disturbed, and floristically diverse old-growth forest (Hawk Woods) on the Allegheny Plateau in south-eastern Ohio was studied to compare woody vegetation structure, composition, and soils both within and among communities. Five vegetation types were initially identified based on visual estimates of dominance and indicator species: mixed mesophytic, mixed oak-tulip poplar, white oak, oak-hickory, and oak-heath. Principal components ordination did not reveal distinct groupings of stands within and among vegetation types. Further quantitative analysis suggested that fewer ecological groupings were sufficient to describe vegetation types. Cluster analysis supported three ecological groupings apparently related to a topographic-moisture continuum. Multivariate analysis of variance of soil variables indicated significant differences among stands. Linear correlation of soil variables with principal components suggested the presence of a soil nutrient gradient associated with the topographic-moisture gradient. Edaphic parameters were not useful for discriminating community types but did however covary with the vegetation continuum. Size-class analysis of vegetation types indicated similarities and differences both among communities within Hawk Woods and among other forests in the Plateau region. Diameter distribution curves for vegetation types were observed to fit the negative power function more closely than the negative exponential function. Size-class distributions of individual species varied, apparently as a function of broad-scale ecological characteristics (e.g., shade tolerance). Quercus spp. exhibited marked underrepresentation in the smaller size-classes, suggesting an inability to self-perpetuate.

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