Twenty-two year changes in regeneration potential in an old-growth Quercus forest in the Mid-Cumberland plateau, TennesseeThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
A study was initiated in 1983 and then reexamined in 2005 to determine regeneration potential and species composition changes in an old-growth forest on the mid-Cumberland Plateau. Response to a 1980s mortality event was evident in the increased density of the largest size class, with Acer saccharum (Marsh.) showing the greatest increase (>100 percent). Large (2.5-5.4 inches d.b.h.) Carya and Quercus regeneration and all Cornus florida (L.) regeneration are no longer present, except for Q. prinus (L.) (4 percent). Regeneration models predicted similar regeneration outcomes in response to stand-replacing disturbance events: Acer saccharum (53 percent), Fraxinus americana (L.) (7-13 percent), and Liriodendron tulipifera (L.) (7-9 percent). We hypothesize that the potential of this forest to maintain overstory oak species will diminish if current disturbance trends continue.