Upland Forests of the Knobs Region of Kentucky

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Bulletin of the Torrey Botanical Club


The forest vegetation (stems ≥ 2.5 cm dbh) of the Knobs Region of Kentucky was studied at eight sites to provide baseline information concerning species composition, stand structure and species-environment relations in this distinct geologic and physiographic region. Species composition closely resembled that of the Cumberland Plateau of eastern Kentucky. However, important differences exist which suggest comparison with both the Oak-Hickory Forest and the Oak-Chestnut Forest. Four recognizable groups of plots were identified by indirect ordination of 147 sample plots. A mesophytic hardwoods group comparable to the mixed mesophytic forest of the Cumberland Plateau was readily distinguished from plots dominated by Quercus alba, Q. coccinea, and Q. prinus. Samples of the mesophytic hardwoods exhibited a gradient in composition from plots with Fagus grandifolia as a dominant to those with Acer saccharum and Liriodendron tulipifera. Samples of this group were restricted to protected coves where potential solar radiation was lower and soil pH and fertility were higher. Oak-dominated plots showed a gradient in composition between the three extremes in which Q. alba, Q. coccinea, and Q. prinus, respectively, were dominant. No consistent environmental trends seemed to distinguish the distributions of these three oak-dominated groups, and their occurrence may be the product of a geographical gradient of the dominant species rather than distribution along local environmental gradients. Plots dominated by either Q. alba or Q. prinus showed higher concentration of dominance, suggesting that interactions between these dominants and their associates may be more antagonistic than in mesophytic forest hardwoods and Q. coccinea plots.

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ISSN: 0040-9618; EISSN: 2325-8055


This article is included in the repository because its author is a regular co-author of University of Dayton faculty member Ryan W. McEwan, and the research in it is at the foundation of the McEwan Lab's work in Lilley Cornett Woods. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2307/2996366


Torrey Botanical Society



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