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Classifying Patterns of Understory Vegetation in Mixed-Oak Forests in Two Ecoregions of Pennsylvania

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Understory plots in mixed-oak stands in the Ridge and Valley and Allegheny Plateau ecoregions of Pennsylvania were classified to summarize the range of understory conditions common to the region and to evaluate relationships between understory vegetation, overstory conditions, and advance tree regeneration. Factor analysis and cluster analysis were used to identify understory classes. Vegetation cover data including 15 variables (plant species, bare ground, and rocky ground cover) and 4 composite variables (plant species groups) were observed on 1,208 204-m2 plots. The eight vegetation classes resulting from the analyses were associated with different overstory compositions and advance regeneration densities. The understory classes identified in this study may provide insight on the distribution and diversity of problematic and nonproblematic vegetation types.
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Keywords: cluster analysis; mixed-oak forests; oak regeneration; vegetation classification

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2008-03-01

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  • Each regional journal of applied forestry focuses on research, practice, and techniques targeted to foresters and allied professionals in specific regions of the United States and Canada. The Northern Journal of Applied Forestry covers northeastern, midwestern, and boreal forests in the United States and Canada.
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