Between 1993 and 1995 we sampled ground-layer vegetation on 150 plots in Facus-Acer saccharum/Arisaema Mesic Slope and Quercus alba-Acer saccharum/Parthenocissus Dry-Mesic Slope forests to determine how the understory of these forests responded to forest management. Four different stand types, clear-cuts (2–12 ha), group-selection openings (0.1–1.6 ha), single-tree selection openings (0.005–0.013 ha) and uncut 80–100 y-old reference stands were sampled. There was little relationship between the percent cover of most ecological species groups and opening age or size on either mesic or dry-mesic slopes. While clear-cuts and group-selection openings had significantly greater cover of several ecological species groups (used to classify mesic and dry-mesic slopes) than reference stands, single-tree selection openings did not differ significantly from reference stands in the cover of any ecological species group. Pearson correlation analysis indicated that more ground-layer species were significantly correlated with opening size than opening age, suggesting that the size of the initial opening has more influence on species composition than opening age. Overall, forest management has not constituted a severe enough disturbance to shift ground-layer species composition away from that associated with the sampled ecological landtype phases (mesic and dry-mesic slopes). Aspect was the dominant factor determining species distribution in Canonical Correspondence Analysis ordinations of ground-layer vegetation in both openings and reference stands.
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Vol. 142 • No. 1