Download PDF by Steven L. Stephenson: A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

By Steven L. Stephenson

ISBN-10: 1933202688

ISBN-13: 9781933202686

Central Appalachia is the approach of linear ridges, intervening valleys, and deeply dissected plateaus that make up the rugged terrain present in western and southwestern Virginia, jap and significant West Virginia, western Maryland, and a component to south vital and southwestern Pennsylvania. via its concise and obtainable technique, A common background of the principal Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the vegetation, animals, and different organisms of this sector of japanese North America.
With over one hundred twenty photographs, this article presents an summary of the panorama of this area, together with the foremost alterations that experience taken position over the earlier three hundred million years; describes the different sorts of forests and different plant groups presently found in critical Appalachia; and examines dwelling structures starting from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. via a attention of the background of people within the sector, starting with the arriving of the 1st local americans, A ordinary background of the critical Appalachians also discusses the prior, current, and destiny affects of human task upon this geographic area.

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Extra resources for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

Sample text

However, there is every reason to believe that the Native Americans did have an appreciable influence on forest structure and composition in some localities. For example, they were known to have cleared small areas of forest for their villages and crops. Even more importantly, Native Americans used low-intensity fires to keep forests free of undergrowth, thus providing more suitable habitat for the game animals they hunted. Some scientists have speculated that their use of fire was widespread enough to have caused significant changes in certain types of forest communities.

The primary reason for this seems to be the smothering effect of the blanket of dead leaves that accumulates as a result of leaf fall. The dead leaves easily slide off the elevated substrates. When the various layers of vegetation in a forest dominated by conifers are compared with those of a forest dominated by broadleaf trees, major differences are apparent. For example, in a mature conifer-dominated forest the canopy layer is well developed, and the individual canopies closely intertwined. The dense shade cast by such a canopy often means that lower layers of vegetation show little diversity: the understory tree and sapling layers sometimes consists of only a few scattered individuals.

Woody vines are not very common in Central Appalachian forests. Grapevines, Virginia creeper, and poison ivy are the best known and widespread examples that one is likely to encounter. Grapevines are most abundant in forests that have been subjected to disturbance. They can reach a considerable size, with a stem diameter exceeding that of many small trees. Grapevines this large can easily extend throughout much of the crown of the tree that is supporting their growth, ultimately causing branches in the crown to break and, in extreme cases, killing the tree.

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A Natural History of the Central Appalachians by Steven L. Stephenson

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