Eastern Deciduous Forest

Eastern Deciduous Forest: Ecology and Wildlife Conservation

Richard H. Yahner
Volume: 4
Copyright Date: 1995
Edition: NED - New edition, Second
Pages: 316
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  • Book Info
    Eastern Deciduous Forest
    Book Description:

    This new edition includes the most up-to-date information on the forest and its wildlife, with special attention given to contemporary conservation issues. The result is a timely and useful tool for anyone who wants to know or hopes to help one of North America’s great natural resources.

    eISBN: 978-0-8166-9032-9
    Subjects: Environmental Science

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-xii)
  3. Preface
    (pp. xiii-xvi)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xvii-xviii)
  5. Chapter 1 The Forest and Its Wildlife
    (pp. 1-16)

    Forestscover about 34% of the total land worldwide (Durning 1994). They are found where adequate soil moisture and growing seasons exist, and extend from the tropics to the fringes of the treeless polar tundra. In the contiguous 48 states, forests currently comprise about 33% of the total land area, or nearly 300 million hectares (Robertson and Gale 1990; Sedjo 1991). In the eastern half of the United States, the percentage of forestland is somewhat higher at approximately 40% (Hagenstein 1990).

    Although broad in geographic distribution, forests are not an inexhaustible resource. Of the total forestland worldwide, only about 35%...

  6. Chapter 2 Early History of the Forest
    (pp. 17-30)

    The earliest trees to evolve were the conifers, whose ancestors can be traced back to about 280 million years ago in the geologic era known as the late Paleozoic (Spurr and Barnes 1980). Flowering plants, on the other hand, which eventually led to modern deciduous trees, evolved at least 125 million years ago in the geologic period known as the Cretaceous. Within the next 15 million years or so after the Cretaceous, flowering plants rapidly dominated the earth. Simultaneous with the arrival of flowering plants, many seed-eating, seedling-eating, and pollinating animals, such as insects and ancestors of modern-day birds and...

  7. Chapter 3 Ecological Processes
    (pp. 31-46)

    Ecologyis defined as the study of the naturalenvironmentand of the relations of organisms, including plants, animals, microbes, and people, to each other and to their surroundings (Ricklefs 1990).The term ecology is derived fromoikos,which is Greek for “household,” and fromlogg,which means “the study of.” Ecology is a very complex science that seeks to understand patterns of the distribution and the abundance of organisms. Hence, forest ecology deals with the interrelationships among organisms within the forest community as well as the physical environment in which these organisms live (Spurr and Barnes 1980). Ecology is concerned...

  8. Chapter 4 Forest Plant and Animal Interactions
    (pp. 47-60)

    We have seen that trees, shrubs, spring ephermerals, and other types of vegetation serve many vital functions in the eastern deciduous forest, such as adding oxygen to the atmosphere, absorbing precipitation, and recycling nutrients. Plants are also especially critical to forest animals in two major ways: they provide homesites and food resources. Trees and shrubs provide substrates for nest placement by songbirds, and tree cavities in older or dying trees are resting sites or refugia for small mammals, like northern flying squirrels and white-footed mice. Berries and nuts are eaten readily by a host of forest birds and mammals, bark...

  9. Chapter 5 Forest Succession and Management
    (pp. 61-84)

    Forest succession is the regrowth of a forest stand unaided by artificial seeding, planting of seedlings, or other human activities following a natural or human-induced disturbance (Cutter, Renwick, and Renwick 1991). During succession, the species composition and abundance of plant and animal species change over time, often in a somewhat predictable fashion, as habitat conditions become more suitable for some species while less so for others (Aber 1990; Barnes 1991) (Figure 5.1). Succession is an important ecological concept that needs to be understood to explain patterns of the distribution and the abundance of plants and animals in the eastern deciduous...

  10. Chapter 6 Forest Fragmentation
    (pp. 85-107)

    Forest fragmentationresults when a large, relatively mature forested stand is converted into one or more smaller forested tracts by human land uses, such as agriculture, urbanization, or timber harvesting. Fragmentation not only reduces the amount of forest but also isolates the remaining forested tracts from one another because of the intervening land use (Harris and Silva-Lopez 1992).Thus, we could visualize forest fragmentation as a process that leads to islands of forested tracts within a sea or landscape of agriculture, urbanization, or younger stands of managed forests (Figure 6.1).

    Forest fragmentation and its consequences for forest biota have become major...

  11. Chapter 7 Corridors and Edges in Relation to Fragmented Forests
    (pp. 108-124)

    As we have seen in earlier chapters, the original forest of the eastern United States consisted of expansive, unbroken tracts, except for occasional clearings created by natural events or Native Americans. Today, the eastern deciduous forest is relatively discontinuous, with forested tracts of various sizes amid an agricultural or urban landscape. Many of these forested tracts are isolated from others, thereby resembling a series of islands in the landscape—a situation quite unlike that present before European settlement. Wooded corridors in the landscape, however, counter the effects of forest fragmentation by connecting these isolated tracts, thereby better approximating conditions found...

  12. Chapter 8 Biodiversity and Conservation
    (pp. 125-140)

    I have referred to biological diversity, or simply biodiversity, several times earlier, but it may mean different things to different readers. Generally, it has been defined as the variety of life and its processes (Keystone Center 1991; Nigh et al. 1992; The Wildlife Society 1993) and occurs at four interrelated levels:genetic diversity, species diversity, community and ecosystem diversity,andlandscape diversity(Figure 8.1).Thus, more specifically, biodiversity is the variety and the abundance of species, their genetic diversity, and the communities, ecosystems, and landscapes in which these species occur; in addition, biodiversity refers to ecological structures, functions, and processes at...

  13. Chapter 9 Atmospheric Environmental Concerns
    (pp. 141-169)

    We have seen in earlier chapters that the distribution and the abundance of plants and animals in today’s eastern deciduous forest are affected by a spectrum of abiotic (e.g., solar radiation, soil moisture), biotic (e.g., predation, competition), and human-induced factors (e.g., forest-management practices, forest fragmentation). Since the 1960s, another set of environmental factors associated with the earth’s atmosphere has become a major concern to scientists and the general public. These include thegreenhouse effect,global climatic change, acid deposition, mercury deposition, tropospheric ozone buildup, and stratospheric ozone depletion. In this chapter, I focus primarily on the potential and real impacts...

  14. Chapter 10 Forests of the Future: Challenges and Opportunities
    (pp. 170-178)

    The eastern deciduous forest is dynamic. The distribution and the abundance of plant and animal species in today’s forest will change over time because of a myriad of environmental factors, some within the control of natural resource managers (e.g., silvicultural practices) and others beyond direct control (e.g., climatic events). Certain environmental problems and issues currently facing the eastern deciduous forest will be present well into the future; new problems and issues will surely arise in the years to come. Despite changes, problems, and issues confronting the eastern deciduous forest of the twenty-first century, the major conservation goal of natural resource...

  15. Appendix A Scientific Names of Animals and Plants Mentioned in the Text
    (pp. 179-184)
  16. Appendix B Glossary of Terms Used in the Text
    (pp. 185-188)
  17. References
    (pp. 189-210)
  18. Index
    (pp. 211-220)
  19. Back Matter
    (pp. 221-221)