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Title: Tree Composition Along Edaphic and Hydrologic Gradients in Nonriverine Wet Hardwood Forests
Authors: Morris, Tracy Catharine
Advisors: Dr. Michael Vepraskas, Committee Co-Chair
Dr. Jon Stucky, Committee Member
Dr. Theodore H. Shear, Committee Chair
Keywords: gradient analysis
hydrologic gradient
hydric soils
nonriverine wetlands
Issue Date: 21-Apr-2005
Degree: MS
Discipline: Forestry
Abstract: We sampled seven intact nonriverine wet hardwood forests to establish target ranges for vegetation, soils and hydrology and to examine trends in plant species composition along a wetness gradient. Although quantitative vegetation analysis for this community has been published, broad drainage classes were used to represent a moisture gradient. We investigated trends along a finer-scaled wetness gradient utilizing a novel wetness index that incorporated indicators of saturated soils. Understanding small-scale patterns in plant community composition is useful in planning wetland restoration projects. Although no strong relationship was found between wetness index classes and plant community composition, these data represent the vegetative community supported by soils specific to each wetness class. Absence of this relationship is most likely a result of the dominance of A. rubrum and L. styraciflua in all wetness classes as well as a history of disturbance in each forest and other unknown stochastic variables. For the restorationist hoping to restore a historic nonriverine wet hardwood forest, once known as oak flats, we can suggest guidelines for restoring hydrology to the wetness classes in which we found oaks with high importance.
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