Quinlan, K. M. 2001.  Herbaceous species composition and diviersity in old-growth and managed northern hardwood forests in the Adirondacks.  M.S. Thesis, State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry, Syracuse, 76 pp.  


The objectives of this research were to: (1) investigate differences in herbaceous species composition and diversity between old-growth and managed stands; (2) search for potential herbaceous indicator species for the old-growth condition; and (3) explore differences in environmental site conditions as possible reasons for any differences that are found.  Herbaceous species composition and diversity, light levels, canopy cover, basal area, and soil pH were compared among four northern hardwood stand types in the Adirondack Park, New York: old growth, managed uneven-aged, young even-aged, and maturing even-aged.  Species diversity did not differ among stand types.  Species composition varied somewhat.  Seven species each showed a positive association with the old-growth stands, four species showed a positive association with the uneven-aged stands and the young even-aged stands, and three species showed a positive association with the maturing even-aged stands.  Of one hundred and sixteen herbaceous species identified, none were found only in old-growth stands, but none were present in enough stands or in sufficient quantity to be used as indicators of the old-growth conditions.  Forty species were absent from the old-growth stands.  Few differences were found in the environmental variables measured.  The lowest values for low light levels (i.e., the darkest dark patches) were associated with the young even-aged stands.  The highest values for low canopy cover (i.e., the open patches with the most canopy cover) were associated with the maturing even-aged stands.