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Reforestation of bottomland hardwoods and the issue of woody species diversity.Author(s): James A. Allen
Source: Restoration Ecology 5(2): 125-34
Publication Series: Scientific Journal (JRNL)
PDF: Download Publication (674.28 KB)
DescriptionBottomland hardwood forests in the southcentral United States have been cleared extensively for agriculture, and many of the remaining forests are fragmented and degraded. During the last decade, however, approximately 75,000 ha of land-mainly agricultural fields-have been replanted or contracted for replanting, with many morelaacres likely to be reforested in the near future. The approach used in most reforestation projects to date has been to plant one to three overstory tree species, usually Quercus spp. (oaks), and to rely on natural dispersal for the establishment of other woody species. I critique this practice by two means, First, a brief literature review demonstrates that moderately high woody species diversity occurs in natural bottomland hardwood forests in the region. This review, which relates diversity to site characteristics, serve as a basis for comparison with stands established by means of current reforestation practices. Second, I reevaluate data on the invasion of woody species from an earlier study of 10 reforestation project in Mississippi, with the goal of assessing the likelihood that stands with high woody species diversity will develop. I show that natural invsion cannot always be counted on to produce a diverse stand, particularly on sites morel than about 60 m from an existing forest edge. I then make several recommendations for altering current reforestation practices in order to establish stands with greater woody species diversity, a more natural appearance, and a more positive environmental impact a scales larger than individual sites.
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CitationAllen, James A. 1997. Reforestation of bottomland hardwoods and the issue of woody species diversity. Restoration Ecology 5(2): 125-34
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