Early regeneration of a clear-cut southern Appalachian forest

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The components of hardwood forest regeneration on a southern Appalachian watershed were assessed during the 1st yr following clear—cutting. First—year net primary production (NPP) on the clear—cut was 1955 kg/ha, representing 22% of the NPP of a nearby undisturbed hardwood forest. First—year nutrient pools in NPP for N, P, K, Mg, and Ca were estimated at 29—44% of those in the NPP of the control. The greatest NPP and nutrient pools were represented in descending order by hardwood sprouts, herbs, vines, and seedlings. Woody successional species (Robinia pseudo—acacia, Liriodendron tulipifera, and Vitis aestivalis var. argentifolia) and herbs (Aster spp., Solidago spp., and Erechtites hieracifolia) were important in revegetation due to competitive advantages in growth rates, growth forms, and propagative capacities. The woody successional species had higher tissue concentrations of N and P than most other woody species. Herbs as a group had significantly higher foliar concentrations of K than woody species. Woody successional and herbaceous species collectively had higher biomass and elemental pools than other woody species. Following forest disturbance, these fast—growing species conserve substantial pools of nutrients in their biomass and initiate a rapid recovery of forest elemental cycling processes.