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1 April 2012 Reconstructing the development of two Ozark chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis) stands in the pre-blight forests of northwest Arkansas
Frederick L. Paillet, K. Chris Cerny
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A survey of Ozark chinquapin in northwest Arkansas showed the tree to be widespread but uncommon, locally concentrated on sandstone benches and upper slopes in karst terrain. The remains of pre-blight chinquapin trees were mapped and measured on two 200 ha sites in Benton and Washington counties. Tree density was estimated at about 1 tree per ha, consistent with published upland witness tree surveys. 108 relatively intact logs were documented, representing about half of the total large chinquapins estimated to have grown on the two sites. Most of these grew as single-stemmed trees up to 20 m in height and 40 cm in diameter. The predominance of single-stemmed trees may indicate the relative absence of fire in pre-blight forests. The lack of subsequent sprouts from the base of large trees and the abundance of living sprout clones not associated with old trees indicates most sprouts are old seedlings. Tree rings were used to reconstruct stand history on six 20 × 60 m plots. Release of adjacent trees showed that blight arrived in 1957. Stand recruitment was concentrated in an extended period from 1920 to 1940, with a few older trees dating to the mid 1800's. Estimated ages for chinquapin logs seemed to pre-date oak and hickory recruitment, suggesting release of suppressed understory stems. Tree rings were used to determine the diameter of trees on the plots in 1955. Height-diameter projections were used to compare the stature of the stand with reconstructed remains of chinquapin logs, demonstrating that Ozark chinquapin was growing as a canopy-dominant tree at the time when blight arrived.

Frederick L. Paillet and K. Chris Cerny "Reconstructing the development of two Ozark chinquapin (Castanea ozarkensis) stands in the pre-blight forests of northwest Arkansas," The Journal of the Torrey Botanical Society 139(2), 211-225, (1 April 2012).
Received: 29 July 2011; Published: 1 April 2012
chestnut blight
chinquapin growth form
disturbance ecology
forest reconstruction
Ozark chinquapin
stand history
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