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Marcella Windmuller-Campione, Utah State University, marcella.campione@aggiemail.usu.edu (Presenter)

 

Habitat typing is one commonly used classification system for predicting site quality that focuses on the presence and absence of herbaceous and shrub species that are used to characterize the potential climax overstory of a site. In 2010, ten years after the original sampling, a subset of plots was revisited within the Western Upper Peninsula of Michigan. The sampling effort was expanded to include spring ephemerals, additional environmental variables, and exotic European earthworm populations. Non-metric multidimensional scaling (NMS) ordination was used to graphically determine how habitat types differed between years (2000 vs. 2010) and between seasons in 2010 (spring vs. summer). Overstory trees per hectare decreased from 2000 to 2010 but the number of herbaceous species sampled increased. This increased richness was mainly due to an increase in early successional and exotic herbaceous species. Earthworms were observed in all habitat types; earthworm densities generally increased as the potential productivity as indicated by habitat type increased. Ongoing assessment of these sites will allow scientists and managers to observe how exotic species, a changing climate, and disturbance regimes may impact forest dynamics.