This report documents the status and trends of Cumberland-Piedmont Network (CUPN) National Park Units. They were designed collaboratively between CUPN staff and NatureServe and finalized in 2019.

ABLI - BIRT 2016

Status Metric Metric Description
good, no trend, medium confidence Tree growth rate Canopy tree growth (together with mortality rates) provide an integrative, quantitative metric of tree health and vitality. Relative basal area growth rate (% basal area / year) of canopy trees is calculated from repeated measurements of bole diameter at breast height (dbh) measurements Annual mortality rate (% stems / year) of canopy trees is also calculated from repeated observation.
good, no trend, medium confidence Tree mortality Canopy mortality rates (together with tree growth) provide an integrative, quantitative metric of tree health and vitality. Relative basal area growth rate (% basal area / year) of canopy trees is calculated from repeated measurements of bole diameter at breast height (dbh) measurements Annual mortality rate (% stems / year) of canopy trees is also calculated from repeated observation.
good, down, medium confidence Snag abundance The CUPN Forest Monitoring Protocol defines snags as lacking any living tissue at or above DBH, are a minimum of 10 cm DBH and lean less than 45º from vertical. Dead trees leaning greater than 45º are treated as coarse woody debris (refer to SOP 6: Tree Measurements). This metric is intended to measure the abundance/volume of snags and determine whether there is a sufficient quantity of snags to support healthy ecosystem function.
good, down, medium confidence CWD Volume Dead wood, in the form of standing dead trees (snags) and fallen coarse woody debris (CWD) are important structural features of forest stands that provide habitat for wildlife and fungi. This metric assesses the density of snags and volume of CWD in relationship to live tree density and volume.
poor, flat, medium confidence High priority exotic plant species richness This metric assesses the presence of key invasive exotic plant species within CUPN forested, woodland and successional ecosystems.
good, down, medium confidence High priority exotic plant cover This metric assesses the abundance of key invasive exotic plant species within CUPN forested, woodland and successional ecosystems.
poor, flat, medium confidence Oak sustainability index (only applied to plots of oak-hickory  or ruderal forests) This metric assesses the amount of oak and hickory sapling regeneration in the forest understory. Oak – hickory forests might not have adequate advanced regeneration of those saplings to remain oak – hickory forests in the future. All saplings (at least 137 cm tall, and 0 – 10 cm dbh) are tallied by species and size class in eight 10 m2 nested subplots within the larger full 400 m2 plot. Within each forest vegetation monitoring plot, all oak plus hickory tree saplings (0 - 5 cm dbh ) are totaled across the eight 10 m2 nested subplots. From the total number oak plus hickory tree saplings, the number of oak plus hickory saplings per hectare is calculated.
poor, flat, medium confidence Percent of Saplings that are Oak or Hickory (only applied to plots of oak-hickory or ruderal forests) This metric assesses the proportion of oak and hickory sapling regeneration in the forest understory. Oak – hickory forests might not have adequate advanced regeneration of those saplings to remain oak – hickory forests in the future. All saplings (at least 137 cm tall, and 0 – 10 cm dbh) are tallied by species and size class in eight 10 m2 nested subplots within the larger full 400 m2 plot. Within each forest vegetation monitoring plot, all saplings and all oak plus hickory tree saplings (0 - 5 cm dbh) are totaled across the eight 10 m2 nested subplots. The total number of oak plus hickory tree saplings per hectare is divided by the number of all tree saplings per hectare, the result is expressed as percent.

ABLI - KNOB 2016

Status Metric Metric Description
good, no trend, medium confidence Tree growth rate Canopy tree growth (together with mortality rates) provide an integrative, quantitative metric of tree health and vitality. Relative basal area growth rate (% basal area / year) of canopy trees is calculated from repeated measurements of bole diameter at breast height (dbh) measurements Annual mortality rate (% stems / year) of canopy trees is also calculated from repeated observation.
good, no trend, medium confidence Tree mortality Canopy mortality rates (together with tree growth) provide an integrative, quantitative metric of tree health and vitality. Relative basal area growth rate (% basal area / year) of canopy trees is calculated from repeated measurements of bole diameter at breast height (dbh) measurements Annual mortality rate (% stems / year) of canopy trees is also calculated from repeated observation.
poor, down, low confidence Snag abundance The CUPN Forest Monitoring Protocol defines snags as lacking any living tissue at or above DBH, are a minimum of 10 cm DBH and lean less than 45º from vertical. Dead trees leaning greater than 45º are treated as coarse woody debris (refer to SOP 6: Tree Measurements). This metric is intended to measure the abundance/volume of snags and determine whether there is a sufficient quantity of snags to support healthy ecosystem function.
good, down, low confidence CWD Volume Dead wood, in the form of standing dead trees (snags) and fallen coarse woody debris (CWD) are important structural features of forest stands that provide habitat for wildlife and fungi. This metric assesses the density of snags and volume of CWD in relationship to live tree density and volume.
caution, up, medium confidence High priority exotic plant species richness This metric assesses the presence of key invasive exotic plant species within CUPN forested, woodland and successional ecosystems.
good, flat, medium confidence High priority exotic plant cover This metric assesses the abundance of key invasive exotic plant species within CUPN forested, woodland and successional ecosystems.
poor, flat, medium confidence Oak sustainability index (only applied to plots of oak-hickory  or ruderal forests) This metric assesses the amount of oak and hickory sapling regeneration in the forest understory. Oak – hickory forests might not have adequate advanced regeneration of those saplings to remain oak – hickory forests in the future. All saplings (at least 137 cm tall, and 0 – 10 cm dbh) are tallied by species and size class in eight 10 m2 nested subplots within the larger full 400 m2 plot. Within each forest vegetation monitoring plot, all oak plus hickory tree saplings (0 - 5 cm dbh ) are totaled across the eight 10 m2 nested subplots. From the total number oak plus hickory tree saplings, the number of oak plus hickory saplings per hectare is calculated.