Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Royal E. Shanks

Committee Members

Eric Winters, H. C. Amick, A. J. Sharp


On the tops of many mountains in the Southern Appalachians are areas which are essentially treeless and which are called "balds." These balds are of two general types, "heath balds" and "grassy balds." The heath balds are largely made up of woody ericaceous species, while the grassy balds are dominated by herbaceous species. This study is concerned with the grassy balds.

The problem of the origin of these grassy balds has long been of interest, and a great deal has been written about the general topic. In this thesis a review is made of the views and theories that have been advanced concerning bald origin. The primary purpose of the study, however, is to describe the vegetation of the grassy balds of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. To this end the summer of 1953 was spent working in these areas. The first part of the summer was spent in becoming generally familiar with the vegetation of all the grassy balds in the Park. The actual sampling of the vegetation was done during July, August, and September on five of the eight larger balds.

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