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Title: Composition, potential old growth, fragmentation, and ownership of Mississippi Alluvial Valley bottomland hardwoods: a regional assessment of historic change

Author: Rudis, Victor A.;

Date: 2001

Source: In: Hamel, P.B.; Foti, T.L., tech. eds. Bottomland hardwoods of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley: characteristics and management of natural function, structure, and composition: proceedings of a symposium held during the Natural Areas conference; 1995 October 28; Fayetteville, AR. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-42. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 28-48.

Publication Series: Miscellaneous Publication

   Note: This article is part of a larger document. View the larger document

Description: Abstract-Recent Mississippi River Alluvial Valley (MAV) bottomland hardwood forest surveys revealed a larger proportion of intermittent flood zone (inundated 1 to 2 months), early successional (primarily hackberry-elm-ash), and permanent flood zone (inundated > 6 months annually, primarily baldcypress-water tupelo) community types than in the 1930s. For the same time period, these same surveys showed a smaller proportion of nonpermanent (inundated c 6 months), late-successional community types (overcup oak-water hickory and mixed bottomland hardwood) than in the 1930s. Sporadic flood zone (inundated < 1 month), shade-tolerant community types were less common in the MAV than elsewhere in the South-Central United States (Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, east Oklahoma, Tennessee, and east Texas). Most forests with old-growth conditions (site productivity-based minimum basal area, net growth near zero, and no recent commercial harvest activity) were in private ownership and characteristic of select community types. Findings were based on a reexamination of systematic sample-based forest surveys of the region. Annual change in bottomland hardwood area was diminishing (-1 .l percent, 1970s to 1980s; +0.3 percent, 1980s to 1990s) but the frequency of large (> 2,023 ha) forest fragments continued to decline (-2.4 percent, 1970s to 1980s; -4.0 percent, 1980s to 1990s). To reconstruct the historic mix of bottomland hardwood community types, renew forest cover, and retain or enhance associated resource values, this assessment suggests a primary focus on conserving large fragments, shifting nonpermanent flood zone, early successional community types toward late-successional types, and restoring occasional flooding regimes and forest cover adjacent to small remnant bottomland hardwood fragments.

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Rudis, Victor A. 2001. Composition, potential old growth, fragmentation, and ownership of Mississippi Alluvial Valley bottomland hardwoods: a regional assessment of historic change. In: Hamel, P.B.; Foti, T.L., tech. eds. Bottomland hardwoods of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley: characteristics and management of natural function, structure, and composition: proceedings of a symposium held during the Natural Areas conference; 1995 October 28; Fayetteville, AR. Gen. Tech. Rep. SRS-42. Asheville, NC: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Southern Research Station: 28-48.

 


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