Analysis of temporal variation and species-site relationships of witness tree data in southeastern Pennsylvania

B. A. Black, M. D. Abrams

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Witness tree species - site relationships are described with respect to parent material, soil drainage, and soil surface texture in Lancaster County, southeastern Pennsylvania. Quercus velutina Lam. and Carya were positively associated with "limestone" parent materials and well-drained, loamy sites. Quercus velutina was strongly associated with "acid shale and sandstone" parent materials and well-drained, upland soils. Quercus alba L. was most abundant on parent material classes associated with stream valleys and coves while Qurecus prinus L. and Castanea dentata (Marsh.) Borkh. were positively associated with well-drained, rocky sites on "quartzite" parent materials. Procedures were then developed to test for significant changes in witness tree species frequencies over the 100-year period of metes and bounds surveys in Lancaster County. These tests revealed that Quercus coccinea L., Nyssa sylvatica Marsh., and early successional species were surveyed much later than Quercus rubra L., Q. alba, and Carya spp. Agricultural land clearing, cutting for firewood, selective logging, and the charcoal-iron industry all probably contributed these species changes. Overall, abundances of minor species appear to be much more sensitive to these early settlement land uses. Given the extent of metes and bounds surveys, these tests for temporal variations may be applied to witness tree data throughout the eastern United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)419-429
Number of pages11
JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2001

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Forestry
  • Ecology


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