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

By Steven L. Stephenson

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 relevant West Virginia, western Maryland, and a element of south imperative and southwestern Pennsylvania. via its concise and available process, A typical historical past of the primary Appalachians thoroughly examines the biology and ecology of the crops, animals, and different organisms of this sector of jap North America.
With over one hundred twenty photographs, this article offers an outline of the panorama of this zone, together with the key adjustments that experience taken position over the earlier three hundred million years; describes the differing kinds of forests and different plant groups presently found in imperative Appalachia; and examines dwelling platforms starting from microorganisms and fungi to birds and mammals. via a attention of the historical past of people within the zone, starting with the coming of the 1st local american citizens, A usual background of the valuable Appalachians also discusses the earlier, current, and destiny impacts of human job upon this geographic area.

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Additional resources for A Natural History of the Central Appalachians

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STRUCTURE OF A FOREST COMMUNITY In a well-developed Central Appalachian forest dominated by broadleaf trees, it is usually possible to recognize seven distinct strata (layers) of vegetation. These are the overstory (or canopy), understory (or subcanopy), sapling, shrub-vine, seedling, herbaceous, and ground layers. The overstory layer is made up of larger individuals of such trees as northern red oak, chestnut oak, white oak, red maple, sugar maple, American beech, yellow poplar, and cucumber magnolia.

These were the Calamites, which are closely related to the horsetails or scouring rushes (both common names apply to members of the modern genus Equisetum) that can still be found in the Central Appalachians. The most widely known tree-sized calamite was Calamites. Calamites was smaller than Lepidodendron and probably reached a height of no more than about thirty feet. The most distinctive feature of Calamites was the trunk, which had longitudinal ribs, appeared to be segmented (or “jointed”), and produced both branches and leaves in whorls (fig.

Trees are blown over by high winds or felled by logging), the greatly increased level of light reaching the forest floor provides an opportunity for shade-intolerant species to become established. Some species of trees 55 potential was an important factor when forests were migrating northward after Pleistocene glaciation. Clearly, both biotic factors and environmental (abiotic) factors related to such things as the local differences in soils and topography are important in determining the distribution patterns of trees species as well as the composition of the assemblage of species found at a given locality.

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