Date of Award


Degree Name

Master of Arts


Biological Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Richard Brewer

Second Advisor

Dr. Rainer R. Erhart

Third Advisor

Dr. Richard W. Pippen

Access Setting

Masters Thesis-Open Access



Several studies have been made of xeric forests in southern Michigan which have developed through secondary succession following the cutting of the presettlement vegetation. Brewer et al. (1973) described such an area in Allegan County, Michigan which was dominated by presettlement pine and is now dominated by oak. The oak forests of the Harvey Ott Preserve in Calhoun County, Michigan have been described by Catana (1967). Studies of the oak forests in the Haven Hill area in southeastern Michigan have been made by Thompson (1953). In addition to these studies of xeric forests in southern Michigan, extensive studies of xeric forests in southern Wisconsin have been made by Curtis (1971).

These studies of xeric forest communities have dealt with relatively large areas. The minimum size community studied by Brewer et al. (1973) was 8 acres and the minimum area studied by Curtis (1971) was 15 acres. The studies of xeric forest communities in southwestern Michigan by Catana (1967) and Brewer et al. (1973) dealt with publicly owned property which had not been disturbed since cutting of the presettlement vegetation.

In this study xeric communities much smaller than those previously mentioned are described. Several small communities in close proximity to one another but with different vegetational compositions are described. These communities are on privately owned property and have been disturbed since the presettlement vegetation was cut.

The objective of this study is to describe these communities and determine why they are so different in terms of present vegetation. Past aerial photographs, age structure of the stands, and environmental factors are discussed in an attempt to explain these differences in vegetation. The future successional trends of these areas based on present understory and environmental factors are also discussed.