Degree Name

MSEH (Master of Science in Environmental Health)


Environmental Health

Date of Award


Committee Chair or Co-Chairs

Phillip R. Scheuerman

Committee Members

N.S. Nicholas, Michael T. Gallagher, Creg S. Bishop


The health of the northern hardwood forest in the Southern Appalachian Mountains of Tennessee, North Carolina, and Virginia has recently gained attention from the media and environmental stakeholders. This project was designed to examine concentrations of metals, including lead, aluminum, and calcium in growth rings of an important northern hardwood species, American beech (Fagus grandifolia Ehrh.) at Mount Rogers and Whitetop Mountain, Virginia. Dominant and codominant trees were sampled from sixteen research plots located at two different elevations. Samples were crossdated, divided into sections of ten-year periods, and analyzed using atomic absorption spectroscopy. Concentrations of metals were negatively correlated with ring width. Elevation and aspect were significantly associated with the concentration of the cations analyzed. Both lead and calcium concentrations increased during the 1860s and again during the mid-1900s. This increase in lead and calcium may suggest the mobilization of these elements in soil.

Document Type

Thesis - unrestricted


Copyright by the authors.