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Title: The Savannah River Site: site description, land use, and management history

Author: White, David L.; Gaines, Karen F.;

Date: 2000

Source: Studies in Avian Biology. 21: 8-17.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

Description: The 78,000-ha Savannah River Site, which is located in the Upper Coastal Plain of South Carolina along the Savannah River, was established as a nuclear production facility in 1951 by the Atomic Energy Commission. The site's physical and vegetative characteristics, land use history, and the impacts of management and operations are described. Aboriginal and early European settlement was primarily along streams, where much of the farming and timber cutting have occurred. Woodland grazing occurred in the uplands and lowlands. Land use intensity increased after the Civil War and peaked in the 1920's. Impacts from production of cotton and corn, naval stores, fuel wood, and timber left only scattered patches of relatively untouched land, and, coupled with grazing and less-frequent fire, severely reduced the extent of longleaf pine (Pinus palustrus) ecosystems. After 1951, the USDA Forest Service, under the direction of the Atomic Energy Commission, initiated a large-scale reforestation effort and continued to manage the site's forests. Over the last decade, forest management efforts have shifted to recovering the red-cockaded woodpecker (Picoides borealis) and restoring longleaf pine habitat. A research set-aside program was established in the 1950's and is now administered by the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory. Impacts from thermal effluents, fly-ash runoff, construction of radioactive waste facilities, and release of low-level radionuclides and certain metals have been assessed by the Savannah River Ecology Laboratory and other researchers.

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  • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
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Citation:


White, David L.; Gaines, Karen F. 2000. The Savannah River Site: site description, land use, and management history. Studies in Avian Biology. 21: 8-17.

 


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