The Sunken Forest, located on Fire Island National Seashore, is a critically imperiled habitat and is one of only two known old-growth maritime holly forests in the world. Analysis of a dataset that dates back to nearly half a century has helped to identify major drivers influencing changes within the forest. These major drivers include; white-tailed deer herbivory, erosion, sea level rise, increased storm events, and canopy-gap dynamics. As of 2013, the Sunken Forest canopy is still analogues of 1967, but over the last 35 years vegetation recruitment within the forest has become limited due to white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) herbivory. The bayside of the Sunken Forest has also been eroding. Erosion with added pressure from sea-level rise is causing mortality of trees/understory vegetation, limiting seedling and herb recruitment, and shifting vegetation toward the bayside and low elevation areas within the interior of the forest.
|Commitee:||Sarno, Ronald, Underwood, Harold B.|
|School Location:||United States -- New York|
|Source:||MAI 54/03M(E), Masters Abstracts International|
|Keywords:||Fire island, Forest, Vadose zone, White-tailed deer|
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