Boundary-line growth patterns to determine disturbance history of remnant longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Mill.) in mixed forests of southeastern Virginia1 by ProQuest

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BHUTA, A. A. R. AND L. M. KENNEDY (Department of Geography, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061), C. A. COPENHEAVER (Department of Forestry, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061), P. M. Sheridan (Meadowview Biological Research Station, Woodford, VA 22580) AND J. B. CAMPBELL (Department of Geography, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg, VA 24061). Boundary-line growth patterns to determine disturbance history of remnant longleaf pine (Pinus palustris P. Mill.) in mixed forests of southeastern Virginia. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 135: 516-529. 2008.-Removal of canopy dominant trees in temperate closed-canopy forests due to natural or anthropogenic disturbance may allow for the release of co-dominant and sub-canopy trees into the canopy. Historical growth releases of these trees can be reconstructed from the analysis of their annual rings and compared with historical disturbance events to better understand forest dynamics. We applied boundary-line growth patterns, a method for the reconstruction of historical release from disturbance, to annual-ring series of co-dominant longleaf pine in two closed-canopy successional forest sites (Everwoods and Seacock Swamp) the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginia. The somewhat degraded stands were co-dominated by mixed hardwoods and loblolly pine (Pinus taeda L.) after a long fire-free history. Our study documented recruitment patterns through age-class distribution and reconstructed disturbance events (growth releases) using a modified version of the boundary-line growth method. Ages for all cored individuals at Everwoods (n = 37) ranged from 32-184 years (x = 53 years), and at Seacock Swamp (n = 32), from 56-175 years (x = 94 years). Longleaf pine has failed to recruit over the past two decades at Everwoods, and over the past half-century at Seacock Swamp, probably due to increased competition and habitat decline in the absence of fire. Boundary-line growth patterns revealed moderate and major release events for longleaf pines at bo

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