Date of Award
Master of Science
Edward R. Buckner
Ronald Hay, Edward E. C. Clebsch
Prelogging forest cover and the nature and intensity of logging disturbance for two areas in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park were characterized using written records, photographs, interviews and, where available, virgin stands on similar sites. Present seral position and stand character were determined from fixed-area plots established on sties for which previous forest cover and intensity of disturbance had been determined.
A low- to mid-elevation hardwood forest occupying a north-facing drainage on the Tennessee side of the Park was determined to have been mixed mesophytic in character prior to logging and was most intensively disturbed by skidder logging near drainage bottoms. succession reverted to early pioneer stages where logging was followed by gardening and where skidder damage was intensive, generally the most productive sites. Upper slope and higher-elevation sites were generally less disturbed and appear to be returning more rapidly to stable mid- to late-seral stages.
Yellow-poplar was unusual among the species studied, in being one of the largest dominants in the original forests, while being the most aggressive "pioneer" on the best sites following intensive disturbance.
In spruce-fir forests at upper elevations, spruce, although less tolerant than fir, was the dominant species in mixed, old-growth stands. This was due to the large size and longevity of spruce compared to the smaller size and shorter life span of fir. Logging disturbance appeared to favor spruce except on exposed sites and at higher elevation where climatic extremes favored fir.
McCracken, Weaver H. III, "Comparison of Forest Cover Prior To and Following Disturbance in Two Areas of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. " Master's Thesis, University of Tennessee, 1978.