Title

Structure and composition of vegetation on Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) and slash Pine (Pinus elliotti) plantation sites in the hilly coastal plain of South Carolina

Document Type

Article

Publication details

Smith, GP & Walker, JL 1999, 'Structure and composition of vegetation on Longleaf Pine (Pinus palustris) and slash Pine (Pinus elliotti) plantation sites in the hilly coastal plain of South Carolina', in JD Haywood (ed.) Proceedings of the Tenth Biennial Southern Silvicultural Research Conference, Shreveport, Louisiana, 16-18 February, United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service, North Carolina, USA, pp. 228-231.

Abstract

Managers interested in restoring the ground layer vegetation in longleaf pine (Pinus pa/ustris Mill.) communities need information about the existing vegetation on the sites, many of which are occupied by 30-40 year old plantations. Numerous studies have reported the short-term effects of plantation establishment on species composition and species diversity, but similar descriptions of older plantations are not available. We sampled fifty-four longleaf/slash pine plantation sites across an environmental gradient at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina. Using the North Carolina Vegetation Survey methodology, a database of information was created on the understory-overstory associations of these disturbed communities. Sites were selected based on criteria of age, burn history, soil moisture, land use, and site preparation methods. Preliminary ordination identified four groups of plantations based on vegetation data. We describe these four groups by species richness, basal area, density and soil texture. These sites will be compared to remnant longleaf sites to evaluate their respective vegetative composition, structure and floristic diversity. The information obtained will be the groundwork for eventual restoration management options of plantation sites to that of remnant conditions.