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International Journal of Forestry Research
Volume 2010 (2010), Article ID 401951, 10 pages
http://dx.doi.org/10.1155/2010/401951
Research Article

Documentation of Significant Losses in Cornus florida L. Populations throughout the Appalachian Ecoregion

Forest Resource Analysts, USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station Forest Inventory and Analysis, 4700 Old Kingston Pike, Knoxville, TN 37919, USA

Received 17 June 2009; Revised 15 October 2009; Accepted 19 January 2010

Academic Editor: Terry L. Sharik

Copyright © 2010 Christopher M. Oswalt and Sonja N. Oswalt. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Over the last three decades the fungus Discula destructiva Redlin has severely impacted Cornus florida L. (flowering dogwood—hereafter “dogwood”) populations throughout its range. This study estimates historical and current dogwood populations (number of trees) across the Appalachian ecoregion. Objectives were to (1) quantify current dogwood populations in the Appalachian ecoregion, (2) quantify change over time in dogwood populations, and (3) identify trends in dogwood population shifts. Data from the USDA Forest Service Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) database were compiled from 41 FIA units in 13 states for county-level estimates of the total number of all live dogwood trees on timberland within the Appalachian ecoregion. Analysis of covariance, comparing historical and current county-level dogwood population estimates with average change in forest density as the covariate, was used to identify significant changes within FIA units. Losses ranging from 25 to 100 percent of the sample population ( 𝑃 < . 0 5 ) were observed in 33 of the 41 (80 percent) sampled FIA units. These results indicate that an important component of the eastern deciduous forest has experienced serious losses throughout the Appalachians and support localized empirical results and landscape-scale anecdotal evidence.