Vegetational change resulting from forest conversion in the central Piedmont of Virginia and their implications for wildlife
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Conversion of natural forest to loblolly pine plantations has become a common practice on commercial forest land in the central Piedmont of Virginia. To gain insight as to bow habitat conditions for wildlife vary over time, vegetation composition and structure were quantified in 21 converted stands at two state forests. The stands represented three replications of seven developmental stages ranging in age from 1 to 22 years. Six natural forest stands Which typify sites presently being converted were selected for comparison.
The seral process can be exemplified by comparing vegetative changes in species richness, evenness, and vegetative coverage in the ground stratum (<1m). Hichness and vegetative coverage showed the same trends: high values in stands 1 to 5 years of age followed by a decline from 5 to 15 years, at Which point canopy closure was complete and these variables were relatively stable for the next seven years. Evenness over time was fairly constant, except for three-rear-old stands where a decline occurred due to predominance by Andropogon virginicus.
- Masters Theses