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Vegetational change resulting from forest conversion in the central Piedmont of Virginia and their implications for wildlife
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.