SUCCESSION IN A BEECH-MAGNOLIA FOREST IN EAST TEXAS
GLITZENSTEIN, JEFF STEVEN
Doctor of Philosophy
Successional change following logging and major natural disturbance was investigated through the use of stand history reconstruction and population monitoring in an east Texas mixed pine-hardwood forest. Establishment of intolerant loblolly pine (Pinus taeda), white oak (Quercus alba) and water oak (Q. nigra) was limited to a relatively brief (10-20 yrs) period after a selective pine cut in 1910-1930. Establishment of shade tolerant beech (Fagus grandifolia) and southern magnolia (Magnolia grandiflora), initially suppressed after logging, began to increase as reproduction of less tolerant species declined, and is relatively abundant in the current forest. Timing of red maple (Acer rubrum) establishment was intermediate between these extremes. Current establishment is mostly occurring beneath patches of water oak, white oak and pine, rather than beneath beech and magnolia. Beech and magnolia trees and saplings are growing faster and mortality of young trees and saplings is lower than for other hardwood species. Thus, through a variety of mechanisms, the importance of beech and magnolia in the current forest appears to be increasing relative to pine and less tolerant hardwoods. Though the data are less complete, similar processes have apparently occurred after major natural disturbance.