Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Botany



First Advisor

William Halvorson


This study analyses environmental characteristics and interrelationships between natural and planted vegetable stands in the Saunderstown Military Reservation. Climatological data were obtained from a number of stations positioned in as many different plant communities as possible. These stations were designed to measure maximum and minimum temperature, precipitation and in the case of the Weather Bureau Shelter, wind flow. The floristics and plant community pattern were recorded to determine relationships between species and local soil characterization.

In the Saunderstown Military Reservation site there are five major types of plant communities that are delimited by the particular microenvironment in a particular soil series position as follows: (1) a Quercus-Viburnum-Panicum community on the relatively well drained upland sites; (2) a mixed coniferous community of Pinus strobus, P. resinose and P. nigra on the sandier soils; (3) a Quercus-Viburnum-Symplocarpus community on the best developed and moderately-well drained soils; (4) an Acer-Viburnum-Juncus community on lower, poorer drained sites; and (5) a mixed Alnus-Acer-Juncus community which occupies the poorest drained and developed soils.

It was also found that the vegetational communities are correlated with the internal drainage of their underlying soils. The most successful and well developed communities occur on the well drained sites while the poorer drained sites maintain a smaller, poorly developed community. Also, a more uniform microenvironment is found under the climax deciduous forest while more variability was encountered in the less developed plant communities near the coast.

Climatic gradients, soil conditions and species distribution all indicate that growing conditions became more unfavorable toward the shoreline of Narragansettt Bay. Within the gradient in growing conditions, the species present are segregated into groups which form a mosaic of plant communities.



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