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Analysis of red spruce (Picea rubens) regeneration in Pocahontas, Randolph, and Tucker counties, West Virginia [electronic resource] /

by Rollins, Adam W.

Abstract (Summary)
Analysis of Red Spruce (Picea rubens) Regeneration in Pocahontas, Randolph, and Tucker Counties West Virginia. Adam W. Rollins The red spruce forest type of eastern North America is a unique, remnant ecosystem from the last glaciations. The present-day stands represent the result of extended climate change, regional natural disturbances and intense anthropogenic influences. The red spruce forest type has considerable ecological and economical importance, despite a limited distribution. Studies have documented red spruce experiencing declining health, vigor, and radial growth as well as high mortality rates. As a result, the red spruce forests have been described as experiencing a forest decline. Pollution, biotic stresses, climate change and natural stand dynamics are some of the hypotheses advanced to explain this phenomenon, however to date no general consensus has been reached. Three red spruce communities in the Central Appalachians of West Virginia were accessed temporally over a period of 10 to 11 years and by forest zones (i.e. hardwood, ecotone, red spruce zones). These communities experienced an increasing density of red spruce over time across all forest zones. Red spruce was successfully establishing and expanding across the ecotone into the hardwood forest zone. The greatest increase of red spruce was seen in the more disturbed and earlier successional sites, whereas the less disturbed red spruce community experienced the least change. The red spruce populations in this study were thriving and increasing the density of red spruce seedlings, advanced regeneration and trees across the sprucehardwood ecotone as well as under the surrounding hardwood canopy. Red spruce seedling densities were found to be greater with increased cover of bryophytes and coarse woody debris, while densities are reduced with increasing cover of Dryopteris spp. iii
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Advisor:

School:West Virginia University

School Location:USA - West Virginia

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:red spruce forest regeneration

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