Eastern Redcedar Forests are Expanding in the Central United States
Eastern redcedar (ERC), a native juniper that can be found across much of eastern North America, is one of the most commonly planted windbreak species in the central United States, an area dominated by cropland and grazing, with pockets of scattered forests. These forests have been experiencing an increase in ERC for several decades and natural regeneration from planting ERC for windbreaks has resulted in new ERC forests. An analysis of data collected by the Forest Service’s Forest Inventory and Analysis (FIA) Program from 2000 to 2012 indicates that forest land dominated by ERC is increasing in area, volume, and density, with the largest gains occurring in Missouri, Nebraska, and Kansas. An analysis of seedling abundance by species indicates a possible shift in future forest composition with ERC, hackberry, and chokecherry counts on the rise while oak, elm, maple, and other species counts declining. Indicators of tree diversity show that as the presence of ERC in the region increases, the overall tree species diversity decreases. An analysis of more than 8,000 forested sites provides a comprehensive picture of the extent and rate at which ERC is expanding and influencing the composition of forests in the central United States.
|Status and trends of eastern redcedar (Juniperus virginiana) in the central United States: Analyses and observations based on Forest Inventory and Analysis data||(publication)|