We investigated the long-term effects of a lock and dam and greentree reservoir management on a riparian bottomland hardwood forest in southern Arkansas, USA, by monitoring stress, mortality, and regeneration of bottomland hardwood trees in 53 permanent sampling plots from 1987-1995. The lock and dam and greentree reservoir management have altered the timing, depth, and duration of flooding within the wetland forest. Evaluation of daily river stage data indicates that November overbank flooding (i.e. 0.3 m above normal pool) of 1 week duration occurred only 10 times from 1950 to 1995 and four of these occurrences were the result of artificial flooding of the greentree reservoir. Results of the vegetation study indicate that the five most common dominant and co-dominant species were overcup oak, water hickory, Nuttall oak, willow oak, and sweetgum. Mortality of willow oak exceeded that of all other species except Nuttall oak. Nuttall oak, willow oak, and water hickory had much higher percentages of dead trees concentrated within the dominant and co-dominant crown classes. Probit analysis indicated that differences in stress and mortality were due to a combination of flooding and stand competition. Overcup oak appears to exhibit very little stress regardless of crown class and elevation and, with few exceptions, had a significantly greater probability of occurring within lower stress classes than any other species. Only 22 new stems were recruited into the 5 cm diameter-at-breast height size class between 1990-1995 and of these, three were Nuttall oak, three were water hickory, and one was sweetgum. No recruitment into the 5 cm diameter-at-breast height size class occurred for overcup oak or willow oak. The results of the study suggest that the forest is progressing to a more water-tolerant community dominated by overcup oak. A conservative flooding strategy would minimize tree stress and maintain quality wildlife habitat within the forested wetland.
- Forested wetland
- Greentree reservoir
- Non-metric multidimensional scaling
- Riparian wetland
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics