Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Geography (MA)

Degree Level





David W. Stahle

Committee Member

Fred L. Paillet

Second Committee Member

Malcom K. Cleaveland


Dendrochronology, Kessler Mountain Arkansas, Old Growth Forest, Ozark Off Road Cyclists, Fayetteville Natural Heritage Association


Kessler Mountain in Fayetteville Arkansas has long been recognized for its beauty and natural resources. Parts of Kessler Mountain have been homesteaded and developed in the past, but most of the mountain has remained relatively undisturbed. The planned development of over 4,000 housing units to cover Kessler Mountain stimulated controversy and consideration of other management alternatives. A twist of fate involving an economic recession, a dedicated group of outdoor recreation enthusiasts, and environmental conservationists led to the permanent protection of 384 acres in the Kessler Mountain Regional Park. To help evaluate the natural resources at Kessler Mountain, forest composition, structure, and tree age were measured at two old growth forest parcels on Kessler Mountain. Forest understory and overstory were surveyed and increment cores were collected from select overstory trees. The overstory of the post oak (Quercus stellata) site (Site A) was dominated by post oak and northern red oak (Quercus rubra). The understory was dominated by northern red oak and black locust (Robnia pseudoacacia). The oldest post oak trees at the post oak site were in the 250 to 300-year-old age class based on dendrochronological analysis of core samples. The overstory of the chinkapin oak (Quercus muehlenbergii) site (Site B) was dominated by sugar maple (Acer saccharum var. saccharum) and chinkapin oak. The understory was dominated by eastern red cedar (Juniperous virginiana) and northern red oak. The oldest chinkapin oak trees at Site B were in the 200 to 250-year-old age class. The data suggest that chinkapin oak and post oak are currently not regenerating at rates necessary to maintain long term dominance in the canopy at these particular study sites on Kessler Mountain. As more land is conserved in the region significant planning and funding need to be dedicated to proper management of these lands to maintain biodiversity and healthy forests.