NORTH CAROLINA’S OAK DECLINE: A STUDY USING FIA DATA
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Theoretically, forest succession in much of North Carolina will eventually lead to oak-hickory forests. However, the 2002 Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) survey shows a decline in many different hardwood species in addition to pines. Although oak-type forestland area increased, total oak growing stock volume decreased from 1990 to 2002 for the first time since 1964. This is the result of increased mortality and removals, and decreased growth. Middle-aged stands saw the most drastic negative changes. Removals by stand initiating activities were 79 percent greater in 2002 than in 1984, while weatherrelated oak mortality has increased by 1,178 percent since 1984. This corresponds to increased hurricane presence, which averages 0.25 direct landfalls per year. However, the periods corresponding to the 1990 and 2002 FIA surveys averaged 0.5 and 0.42 direct landfalls per year, respectively. The undamaged or non-diseased oak volume also decreased from 79 percent (1984) to 56 percent (2002) of total oak volume.
DepartmentNicholas School of the Environment and Earth Sciences
Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) survey
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