student research, biology, Adirondacks
This study quantifies percent cover and species richness in forest gaps and closed canopy communities of an even aged northern hardwood forest. The plant community of interest consists of vascular plants in the herbaceous layer, within one meter of the forest floor. The study was performed in the Charles Lathrop Pack Experimental Forest at the Cranberry Lake Biological Station. Six sample sites were chosen each with two sub-plots that consisted of a gap and a closed canopy location. At each of the sub-plots, percent canopy, percent ground cover and species richness were measured. The average difference in percent cover at all sample sites between gaps and closed canopies is 25.67%. The species richness in gaps had an average of 4.5 more species than in closed canopies. This data supports that forest gaps have a higher species richness and percent cover when compared to closed canopy systems. This study could be taken further by looking at the differences in species composition and regeneration niches within the two systems as well as comparing other factors such as elevation and soil types.
McDonald, Sienna; Dietschler, Nicholas; and Daly, Emmett, "Session A, 2015 Third Place: The Effects of Canopy Gaps on Percent Cover And Species Richness of Vascular Understory Vegetation In Northern Hardwood Forests" (2015). Cranberry Lake Biological Station. 3.