Woody vegetation, soils, age-diameter relationships and historical development are described for 18 gallery forest stands on Konza Prairie, a tallgrass prairie reserve in northeast Kansas. Detrended correspondence analysis (DCA) coupled with the importance values of dominant species was used to identify four stand types in these forests: Quercus muehlenbergii, Q. muehlenbergii-Q. macrocarpa, Q. macrocarpa-Q. muehlenbergii, and Celtis occidentalis-Q. macrocarpa. Location of these groups on the first DCA axis was correlated with decreasing slope and increasing percent silt (i.e. a moisture gradient from xeric to mesic). Shrub cover increased with droughtiness and decreased with both stand basal area and total reproduction. Original Land Office Survey suggest a dramatic expansion of gallery forests along the stream channels and ravines during the period from 1859-1939. Further expansion occurred through 1978. Increases in woody vegetation were attributed to decreased fire intensity and frequency since European settlement. Q. macrocarpa and/or Q. muehlenbergii were the oldest and largest trees in each stand, but were poorly represented as young trees and seedlings. In contrast, Celtis occidentalis, Cercis canadensis and Ulmus spp. were well represented as young trees and were vigorously reproducing singly or in combination in all stands. The growth of these species into trees occurred 10 to 30 years after the major recruitment of Q. macrocarpa and Q. muehlenbergii into the tree size class. It is suggested that the oaks will be replaced by C. occidentalis on the more mesic sites and by C. canadensis on the more xeric sites. The potential of Ulmus spp. as an overstory dominant is probably limited by the Dutch Elm Disease.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science