Forest composition and structure were determined on a 68-ha tract on the south slope of Pine Mountain, Kentucky, in 1997. Data collected from 28 0.04-ha plots were summarized as importance values. Canopy compositions were compared with those described by E. Lucy Braun (The American Midland Naturalist 16: 517-565, 1935) prior to the peak of chestnut blight (Cryphonectria parasitica). No significant change has occurred in canopy composition on the xeric SSE dip slope. Pinus echinata and P. rigida have persisted as co-dominants, and Quercus prinus has remained an important component in the canopy. In mesic sites, canopy composition has remained stable; however, near the crest of the mountain Acer rubrum has replaced Castanea dentata and assumed secondary importance to Liriodendron tulipifera. On the ESE aspect of the dip slope, where C. dentata made up one third of the pre-blight canopy, forest gaps were filled by Q. coccinea and Q. velutina, which now have a higher importance value than that of the pre-blight oak dominants (Q. alba, Q. prinus). Except for the absence of C. dentata, canopy components of the forest communities have remained relatively unchanged during the past 65 years; however, the loss of C. dentata initiated changes in the relative importance of these species in the forest community. Further, in all sampling sites the contribution of existing canopy species to importance values for the sapling/small tree and shrub/woody seedling strata is less than that of fire-sensitive species (A. rubrum, Nyssa sylvatica, Sassafras albidum), suggesting future changes in these post-blight forest communities.

Key words: Braun, Castanea dentata, chestnut blight, forest community