Overstory vegetation in long-term monitoring plots at the University of Mississippi Field Station
Results/Conclusions Overstory vegetation was sampled every three to five years from 1996 to 2013. Throughout the sampling period, the woody species with the highest importance values are Liquidambar styraciflua, Pinus echinata, Pinus taeda, and Quercus alba. Sweetgum [Liquidambar styraciflua] is often a pioneer species, and became well established in three of the five plots that were totally cleared in 1995. In fact, sweetgum specimens have been so important in erosion control that their importance values have increased from 9 in 1996 to 14 in 2013. Species richness has increased from 20 woody species when sampling began to 36 in 2013. The four most dominant tree species have effectively shaded seedlings of other woody species during the hot Mississippi summer months, allowing saplings of other species to grow into the overstory.