We have two traps in each of eight 1-hectare plots. Four plots are along two dry ridges near Top-of-the-World, Tennessee, in the northwest section of the park. These plots are in old-growth short-leaf pine stands that formerly were in a fire maintained ecosystem. However, fire has been suppressed in these stands for many years and they have not been burned since before the park was founded in the 1920's. After collecting for at least a year, we propose to burn two of these plots.
The other plots are in four mesic coves in the northeast part of the park in North Carolina: Porters Creek, Ramsey Cascade, Meigs Prong and Fish Camp Prong, the first two of which are old-growth coves, and the latter two contain mature second-growth that is 70+ years-old. The Porters Creek and Fish Camp Prong plots are matched in soil type, elevation, aspect and slope. Similarly, but at approximately 500 meters higher elevation, the Ramsey Cascade and Meigs Prong plots are matched with each other.
Thus, our inventory will allow us to compare (1) the xeric ridge with the mesic cove communities, (2) short-leaf pine stands before and after fire, and (3) the communities in old- versus second-growth cove forests.
Trapping started in April, 1997, and is supported primarily by a gift from the Friends of the GSMNP to inventory selected taxa of parasitic wasps in the superfamily Ichneumonoidea. It will serve as part of Elizabeth Skillen's doctoral research. We are seeking additonal funding and ultimately propose to inventory all species of insects within the park as part of the GSMNP-ATBI. Individuals wishing to work with us in the GSMNP should contact Keith Langdon, who coordinates the park's Inventorying and Monitoring Program, Chuck Parker, an aquatic biologist of the Biological Resources Division of the U. S. Geological Survey who is stationed within the park, or John Pickering, a collaborating insect ecologist at the University of Georgia.