Distribution Patterns in Appalachian Table Mountain Pine and Pitch Pine Stands
MetadataShow full item record
Flammable pine stands are often located on the driest slopes of forested landscapes in the Appalachian Mountains, but there appears to be regional variation in the topographic distribution of these pines across the southern Appalachian forests. A matrix of stands dominated by oaks and other hardwood trees covers each landscape, with patches of pines embedded within the matrix. Disturbances, such as fire, and gradients of abiotic factors such as moisture availability have influenced these forest patterns. This study uses Southeast GAP Analysis Project land cover data at twelve landscapes of 8 km by 8 km to explore the spatial distribution of pine stands in protected areas of the southern Appalachians. The distributions of the pine stands were analyzed with respect to topographic variables including heat load index, slope, elevation, incoming solar radiation, topographic wetness index, and topographic exposure index. These variables were derived from digital elevation models. Across the twelve landscapes, pine stands are consistently found on dry topographic positions. However, the pine stands vary in terms of the aspects they occupy. Pines primarily occupy the south- and southwest-facing slopes in the southern end of the Appalachian Mountains, while at the northern end of the study region, pines shift towards the west- and northwest-facing slopes. This regional shift in the aspects covered by pine stands likely reflects an interaction between regional climate, vegetation, fire regimes, and local terrain.
Hanson, Alison Anne (2017). Distribution Patterns in Appalachian Table Mountain Pine and Pitch Pine Stands. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from