Publication Date


Degree Program

Department of Biology

Degree Type

Master of Science


Although general information is readily available concerning the structure and composition of deciduous forests, especially in the eastern part of the United States, there seems to be little specific information concerning forest composition in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. The lack of phytosociological studies prior to the development of the land, and the extent of land development in Kentucky, has led to a paucity of information regarding the natural forest vegetation of the Commonwealth. To the author's knowledge, there are few publications dealing with the vegetational composition of relict or virgin forests in Kentucky. It is apparent that there is a special need for studies of natural areas that have been relatively undisturbed by man. A small wooded area in Barren County, Kentucky, referred to as Bonayer Forest, was chosen for a detailed phytosociological analysis in 1971 after a preliminary investigation indicated that the forest might be representative of the natural vegetation of southcentral Kentucky.

This study was undertaken to describe the vegetational composition of the forest, to gain some insight into the successful development of the stand, to compare the tree composition of the forest with that of representative woodlots in the surrounding area, and to establish a record of Bonayer Forest as a basis for possible future studies of a structural or functional nature. An underlying aim of this investigation was to determine whether or not this small forest is indicative of the vegetational composition that would be present in the region if it were undisturbed by man.


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