Patterns of succession in Wheaton woods
MetadataShow full item record
A study of the floristic composition of Wheaton Woods, Norton Massachusetts is described with particular emphasis on its relation to successional processes and patterns. General history of New England forests is considered, and community characteristics of the study site described. Tree species were censused in respect to density, basal area, age, coverage and DFD indices so that general successional status could be ascertained. Reproductive success, percent mortality, and species diversity measures are used to suggest future floristic composition and general successional patterns. While white pine and red oak are presently characteristic across much of the study site, Wheaton Woods shows a high degree of heterogeneity due to natural as well as anthropeic disturbances. It is suggested that red and white oak along with red maple may become the most important species, while white pine will continue to decline in abundance and importance. Evaluation of succession and climax theory suggests that evolutionary adaptations of each species to specific stresses encompasses and supersedes traditional successional concepts. Stability of ecosystems is evaluated in relation to species diversity and stand age, and the importance of perturbation in maintenance of stability is emphasized.
MIME type:application/pdfFile Size:19.22Mb