Date of Award

3-1968

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Botany

Major Professor

Edward E. C. Clebsch

Committee Members

Ronald H. Peterson, Edward R. Buckner

Abstract

The National Park Service, realizing that the montane treeless areas (grass balds) endemic to the Southern Appalachian Mountains were being rapidly overgrown by woody species where not grazed, burned, or managed, wanted to determine "if management of the balds is justifiable and if so what procedures would accomplish the aim without initiating a sequence of changes worse than those resulting from no management." (Park Service Contract)

Before a bald management program can be logically considered, factors involved in the natural maintenance must be determined. This particular study was conducted to examine possible factors. An intensive climatic documentation to two of the grassy balds and one field was undertaken, soil and vegetational transplants between forest and bald were made, growth rates of Abies fraseri, (peripheral old-growth as well as that of the newly invading species) were determined and successful trends studied. Permanent seedling plots were established for initial counts of woody seedlings and for later determination of survival rates, germination and survival of Picea rubens Sarg. were followed through one growing season, and possible shrub invasion was examined. Climatic data were gathered from three areas within the Great Smoky Mountains National Park: Andrews Bald, Gregory Bald, and Spence Field. The other phases of the study were carried out on Answers Bald.

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