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Regional patterns of presettlement forests in a twenty-eight township area of the Boston Mountains, Arkansas.

Within the Deciduous Forest Biome of eastern North America, mixed mesophytic forests are recognized as containing the highest amounts of tree species diversity. While these diverse forests are primarily found in the Appalachian Highlands, forests of strikingly similar character have been noted as occurring in protected slopes and coves within the Boston Mountains. Factors including extensive logging during the past 150 years, as well as a limited ecological knowledge base, suggest that an investigation into the character of the area's natural vegetation may prove important to future research of the Boston Mountains. In addition, forest patterns discerned from this study may aid in the comparison of so-called mix mesophytic stands in the Boston Mountains to stands of similar composition in the Appalachian Highlands. In this study, General Land Office survey data was utilized in order to reconstruct presettlement forest patterns within a twenty-eight township study area located in northwest Arkansas. Survey data concerning the character of the study area's land and vegetation was digitized into a Geographic Information Systems database in both point and line feature forms. This data was interpolated to determine land cover and tree species distributions for the study area. Preliminary results show that over ninety-eight percent of the study area was covered by woodlands or closed canopy forest. Species frequency analysis, using eighteen important canopy species, distinguished nine distinct species associations. These two preliminary findings show that prior to widespread European settlement, portions of the Boston Mountains were extensively wooded and contained a diverse array of tree species associations.

* Hulting, D. Department of Geography, University of Missouri-Columbia.
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Title Annotation:Geography, Senior Division
Author:Cwick, Gary
Publication:Transactions of the Missouri Academy of Science
Article Type:Abstract
Geographic Code:1U7AR
Date:Jan 1, 2005
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