Establishing a historic benchmark for rimrock pine communities at New River Gorge National River, West Virginia
Date of Graduation
Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design
Wood Science and Technology
Ray R. Hicks, Jr.
The structure and composition of a rimrock pine community was studied in the New River Gorge National River, West Virginia. A forest survey found that the overstory was dominated by Pinus virginiana, Nyssa sylvatica, Oxydendrum arboreum, Acer rubrum, and Quercus spp. The importance of Pinus virginiana decreased rapidly with increasing distance from the cliff edge and was replaced by hardwood competitors. Regeneration of Pinus virginiana (∼4,200 stems/ha) was deemed inadequate to sustain a pine forest except on the harshest sites near the cliff edge. A 108-year (1897-2005) fire chronology was constructed from 51 fire scars recorded by 23 pines along the rimrock (100 ha). The Weibull median fire interval ranged from 4-8 years when two trees were required to document a fire. Local land use history was determined to be the controlling factor of fire frequency. It is suggested that prescribed burning be used to restore and maintain the rimrock pine forest.
Maxwell, Richard Stockton, "Establishing a historic benchmark for rimrock pine communities at New River Gorge National River, West Virginia" (2006). Graduate Theses, Dissertations, and Problem Reports. 3250.