Year of Publication

2017

Degree Name

Master of Science in Forest and Natural Resource Sciences (MSFNRS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis

College

Agriculture, Food and Environment

Department

Forestry

First Advisor

Dr. Mary Arthur

Abstract

Natural and anthropogenic disturbances have influenced forest stand structure and affected species compositions within forests for millennia. Disturbances such as fire, severe weather events, and forest management practices may result in significantly reduced tree biomass. Thus, these disturbances may lower canopy closure and stem density in support of forest management goals, such as open oak woodland restoration, or promote an increase in species richness within the forest understory. However, these types of disturbance may also produce the unwanted consequence of opening pathways for the invasion of non-native species. Once established, these non-native species may threaten native plant communities and biodiversity. Here, we elucidate how varied natural and anthropogenic disturbances have altered forest stand structure. One consequence of disturbance has been the increase in the presence and cover of non-native species within upland oak forest sites located in the Daniel Boone National Forest, Kentucky. The results of these studies suggest that timely and effective management strategies are needed to minimize non-native species impact on forested habitats following disturbance, and to promote the desired structural shifts that will sustain diverse habitats and support biodiversity.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

https://doi.org/10.13023/ETD.2017.090

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