Characteristics of Red Spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) Encroachment at Two Central Appalachian Heathland Study Areas

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IGI Global

During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, intensive land use nearly eliminated red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) throughout portions of West Virginia (WV). Red spruce has been slow to regenerate on mountaintop heathland barrens surrounding Canaan Valley, West Virginia (WV), and little is known about the nature of encroachment. Using field surveys, geospatial data, and statistical modelling, the objectives were to 1) characterize and compare red spruce encroachment at two upland heath study areas in West Virginia (Bear Rocks and Cabin Mountain), 2) characterize percent cover of major ground cover types associated with red spruce regeneration sites in order to elucidate biotic interactions, and 3) model the biophysical correlates of red spruce encroachment using geospatial data and statistical modelling. Red spruce count was similar at both study areas, but there were substantially more seedlings and saplings at Cabin Mountain. Modelling revealed a positive relationship between red spruce count and rock cover and a negative relationship between red spruce and stand distance.

Red spruce