A landscape ecosystem classification is described for the 43 800 ha Foothills section (elevation 305 to 610 m) of the southern unit of the Cherokee National Forest. Vegetative cover, landform, and soils data were obtained from sixty 0.04 ha plots located in stands representing late successional stages. Vegetation data were grouped by dominant cover type utilizing agglomerative, hierarchical clustering and detrended correspondence analysis. Detrended canonical correspondence analysis (DCCA) and stepwise discriminant analysis (SDA) were used to identify patterns in species composition explained by environmental variables.Four community types were identified: (1) Tsuga canadensis — Acer saccharum — Fagus grandi-folia — Fraxinus americana, (2) Tsuga canadensis — Rhododendron maximum, (3) Quercus prinus, and (4) Quercus prinus — Quercus coccinea — Acer rubrum. A recently developed “Landform Index” that quantifies slope type and degree of protection by adjacent land masses was identified through DCCA and SDA as the most important predictor of community types. The strength of the correlations between elevation and several soil thickness variables with DCCA axis 1 indicated that vegetation varies along an interpreted moisture gradient. No ecological meaning was attributed to the second axis.
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- Landscape Ecosystem Classification in the Cherokee National Forest, East Tennessee, U.S.A.
Kathleen A. Yoke
John C. Rennie
- Springer Netherlands
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