Five sizes of canopy openings (0.016 ha to 10 ha) were established in the Southern Appalachian Mountains in early 1982 to examine the initial patterns of plant and arthropod establishment across a size range of forest disturbances. Vegetation standing crop after the first growing season was considerably higher in large than small openings in apparent response to greater resource release (e.g., sunlight) in larger openings. Woody stump and root sprouts were the dominant mode of revegetation in each patch size. Forest dominants such as Quercus rubra, Q. prinus and Carya spp. were less important as sprouters in openings than several minor forest components (e.g., Robinia pseudo-acacia, Acer rubrum, Halesia carolina and Cornus florida). Arthropod abundance and community composition varied across the size range of forest openings.