Phytosociological studies of some beech-maple stands in Michigan's lower peninsula

TitlePhytosociological studies of some beech-maple stands in Michigan's lower peninsula
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1960
AuthorsBenninghoff WS, Gebben A.I
JournalPapers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters

From the above observations we conclude that: 1. This analysis of tree species by frequency and importance values bears out the nonuniform composition of the beech-maple communities in the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, as recognized by E. Lucy Braun (1950) and Quick (1924). To determine whether the variants observed are subassociations or different associations in the European sense, or parts of two climaxes in the sense of Clements, will require more extensive surveys. 2. The contrasts in the stratal composition between the northern and southern stands indicate different successional characteristics. In the southeastern area, oaks, hickories, and white ash of the uplands and elms, red maple, and green ash of the lowlands are members of facies of the beech-maple community. In the northern area, balsam fir, white pine, hemlock, white birch, and yellow birch are characteristic of different successional histories of the stands as well as indicative of different site conditions. 3. B. E. Quick's (1924) concept of a degree of unity in the beech-maple communities for the Lower Peninsula is borne out by these observations; but it seems that the climax concept is greatly strained, if not denied, by the strong contrasts in composition and successional origins. 4. E. Lucy Braun's (1950) division of beech-maple communities into a (beech-maple region? and the (hemlock-white pine-northern hardwoods, Great Lake Section? places the beech-maple communities of the Lower Peninsula in two separate forest regions (Clements' (associations??). The basis for this division resides in evidence of the kind presented in this paper. However, the unifying character of the dominant roles of beech and maple in the stands examined here would argue against this treatment. 5. The core of the problem is the anomaly of uniformity of the dominance of beech and maple in these communities along with nonuniformity in accompanying tree species between northern and southeastern Lower Peninsula stands. We suggest that, within the Lower Peninsula, beech-maple communities are of the nature of edaphically selected segregates within the oak-hickory region in the south and within the hemlock-white pine-northern hardwoods in the north. Further investigations should seek to determine the extent to which edaphic factors, especially soil moisture regimen and type of humus, are correlated with occurrence of beech-maple communities.