Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

Major Professor

Ralph W. Dimmick

Committee Members

H.R. DeSelm, E.R. Buckner


During the summers of 1982 and 1983, 135 sample plots were established within 6 landtypes (Smalley 1980) on the highly dissected plateau of the Western Highland Rim in Tennessee. Data on overstory, midstory and understory vegetation, cavity trees and dead snags were collected. These data were used to classify community types, describe vegetational characteristics of the landtypes, predict regeneration after clearcutting, and determine cavity and snag densities.

Six forest community types were identified using cluster analysis. These types were Chestnut oak, Post oak-Mixed oak. White oak. White oak-Scarlet oak-Pignut hickory. White oak-Yellow poplar-Northern red oak, and Sweetgum-White oak-Mockernut hickory. Distribution of these forest types largely depends upon topography.

Discriminant analyses revealed that vegetation was not significantly different among the ridge top landtypes (narrow ridge, broad ridge-north aspect and broad ridge-south aspect). North slopes, south slopes and bottoms contained vegetation that was distinct from other landtypes.

Overstories of xeric ridge top landtypes and south slopes were dominated by dry site oaks, including chestnut oak (Quercus prinus), post oak (Quercus stellata), white oak (Quercus alba), and scarlet oak (Quercus coccinea). White oak, chestnut oak and yellow poplar (Liriodendron tulipifera) were abundant on the more mesic north slopes, while bottoms predominantly consisted of white oak, sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua) and mockernut hickory (Carya tomentosa).

Advanced reproduction was primarily dominated by unmerchantable timber species. Oak advanced reproduction densities were extremely low within all landtypes. Initial stand composition after clearcut harvest should be dominated by species abundant as advanced reproduction. The abundance of oak in the new stand may decline due to low densities of oak advanced reproduction, unless a sufficient number of pole and sawtimber-size oaks sprout after harvest.

Density of cavities was 8.9/acre (22.0/ha). Butt rot and circular bole cavities were the most abundant types with densities of 3.6/acre (8.9/ha) and 2.4/acre (5.9/ha), respectively. Mesic landtypes contained a greater cavity density than xeric landtypes. American beech (Fagus qrandifolia) and scarlet oak were 2 of the most important cavity tree species.

Density of dead snags was 6.4/acre (15.8/ha), with densities between landtypes not significantly different. Snags greater than 10 inches (25.4 cm) in diameter were less frequent than snags 6-10 inches (15.2-25.4 cm) dbh, but a higher percentage of larger snags contained cavities.

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