Long-term Forest Dynamics

Southern Appalachian forests are subject to a variety of disturbances, including deer browse, windthrow, fire suppression, invasive pathogens, harvest, abandoned agriculture, and climate change.  We are interested in how the concepts of resilience and resistance apply to forest communities experiencing different disturbance regimes.  We examine the long-term changes in community composition and structure on the Cumberland Plateau in Tennessee at three different sites:  Cross Creek Watershed in Franklin State Forest, Cane Creek Watershed in Fall Creek Falls State Park and on the 13,000 acre Domain of the University of the South.  Since the lives of trees play out across many decades, we study the dynamics of forest using long-term, permanent plots.