Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

Henry R. DeSelm

Committee Members

Edward E. C. Clebsch, Maxwell E. Springer


The water shed of the Big South Fork of the Cumberland River was studied in the summer of 1969 to determine the relationships existing between soil, site, and vegetational characteristics. Two­ hundred-and-seventy tenth acre plots were established where in trees of overstory size (greater than 5 inches dbh in 2 inch size classes) and under story size (4 1/2 feet tall; 1-5 inches dbh) were measured; herbs, shrubs, seedlings, and vines were sampled within one- hundredth acre subplots. Various soil and site characters were measured for each plot.

Soils were found to be stonier, deeper, and less sandy on lower slope positions in gorge and mountain areas; up slope soils were sandy, shallow, and less stony due to colluvial action and erosion. Available water was assumed greatest in draws and on lower slope positions where soils were deeper and less sandy. Soils were deeper on north rather than south-facing slopes. Twenty-two forest types distinguished on the basis of aspect, proximity to drainage, slope position, and ridge-draw location were described for the basin. These were primarily oak-dominated except on shallow soils where pines had established; hemlock was prevalent in protected coves. Instability of forest types has been related to death of the American chestnut and to repeated logging and strip mining. Increased available water was associated with greater basal area, greater total plot density, and increased understory plot density. Stands with longest periods of growth have higher densities, greater basal area, and less herbaceous cover. Forest taxa have segregated on the basis of soil and site factors as they relate to moisture and available water.

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