Your forest is a precious resource likely comprised of both deciduous trees (hardwood) and evergreen trees (coniferous, usually pines).

Many of the deciduous forests found in Appalachian Kentucky have several types of tree species that dominate. This rich diversity keeps your forest more resistant, resilient and over time, more valuable.

Species found within the Cumberland Plateau in the canopy layer on north and east slopes and in coves are northern red oak, basswood, beech, yellow poplar, sugar maple, birch, red maple, and hemlock. West slopes contain yellow poplar, red oak, white oak, and hickories. On the south slopes and on the ridges, where moisture becomes more limiting, short leaf pine, chestnut oak, white oak, and Virginia pine are more common. Click here to see more about leaf identification of common Appalachian species.

Human activities and disease have altered the composition of many forest communities. Secondary species like eastern red cedar, Virginia pine, shortleaf pine and red maple are almost always an indicator of previous disturbance.

Understory species are also important vegetation. Moist sites likely include rhododendron or fern-like plants, while dry sites feature mountain laurel, wild blueberry or huckleberry. The woody component of other understories usually consists of dogwood and sourwood.




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