Appalachian Trail Forest Communities

Airborne industrial pollution returns to earth in the form of acid deposition, a phenomenon that has lasting effects on remote landscapes. The Appalachian Mountains are particularly susceptible to this pollution, in part because of their thin soils (which are easily acidified) and because of their geography (high elevation and location downwind of pollution sources).

Project Title: High elevation forest communities along acid deposition, soil, and climate gradients of the Appalachian Trail

To conserve the natural resources and heritage of this landscape, this project aims to understand the impact acidification has on high elevation Appalachian forest communities. The central hypotheses are that acidification of soils will result in (1) declines in herbaceous and understory diversity and (2) decreased vigor of dominant tree species, especially Picea rubens and Acer saccharum.

Location: Appalachian Trail (AT) corridor; North Carolina to Maine

Timeline: 2010 – 2012

Field participants:
Juliana Quant, M.S. Student in Conservation Biology
Paul Beaver, internDr. Martin Dovciak, Assistant Professor

Principal Investigators:
Dr. Martin Dovciak, Juliana Quant, Dr. Donald Leopold

National Park Service and US Geological Survey

Juliana Quant
401 Illick Hall, 1 Forestry Dr
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Syracuse, NY 13210, USA.
Phone: 315-727-5134; email:

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