Decadal-Scale Trends in Forest Succession and Climatic Sensitivity in a Red Spruce-Fraser Fir Forest at Roan Mountain, Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests

ASU Author/Contributor (non-ASU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Philip Bradley White (Creator)
Institution
Appalachian State University (ASU )
Web Site: http://www.library.appstate.edu/
Advisor
Peter Soulé

Abstract: I used dendrochronological techniques to investigate the temporal stability of a climate signal in relation to successional processes and disturbance events in the heavily disturbed red spruce (Picea rubens Sarg.) and Fraser fir [Abies fraseri (Pursh) Poir.] forest of Roan Mountain, Tennessee and North Carolina. I collected increment cores from all trees within six 0.05 ha plots located in spruce-fir co-dominant stands. I developed a red spruce tree-ring chronology from cores collected in my sampling plots and from trees located elsewhere in the study area. To test the stability of the climate-tree growth relationship, I performed statistical correlation within moving intervals using DendroClim 2002 software. Changes in forest structure coincided with stand-wide disturbance events such as balsam woolly adelgid (Adelges piceae Ratz.) infestation and widespread early twentieth-century logging. I detected shifts in climatic sensitivity during periods of changing forest composition following disturbances. Notably, a significant shift in red spruce temperature sensitivity occurred during the 1940s, coinciding with a period of aggressive logging. Red spruce climatic sensitivity was often sporadic and fluctuating in signal strength, leading to the hypothesis that stand dynamics may play a larger role than climate in limiting spruce tree growth in a frequently disturbed, closed canopy forest.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
White, P.B. (2010). Decadal-Scale Trends in Forest Succession and Climatic Sensitivity in a Red Spruce-Fraser Fir Forest at Roan Mountain, Pisgah and Cherokee National Forests. Unpublished master’s thesis. Appalachian State University, Boone, NC.
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Dendrochronology, Forest Ecology, Mountain Geography, Climatology, Disturbance Regimes