Characterization and Community Analysis of Three Carolina Bays in Bladen County, North Carolina

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Title: Characterization and Community Analysis of Three Carolina Bays in Bladen County, North Carolina
Author: Lees, Britta
Advisors: Dr. Thomas R. Wentworth, Committee Member
Dr. Jon M. Stucky, Committee Chair
Dr. Michael J. Vepraskas, Committee Member
Abstract: Carolina Bays are unique elliptical depressional wetlands that are abundant in the Atlantic Coastal Plain, particularly in North Carolina. A large percentage of these bays have been ditched, drained, logged, or otherwise disturbed by humans in the past 200 years. Currently, Carolina Bay restoration provides a means for mitigating wetlands lost to development. The purpose of this study was to characterize compositional variation of vegetation relative to gradients of environmental conditions in three Carolina Bays in order to provide reference data for restoring impacted bays. Within three unaltered Carolina Bays, soil sampling, water table monitoring, and vegetation assessments were conducted. Four community types were identified: pond pine woodland, non-riverine swamp forest, high pocosin, and bay forest. Distributions of these community types were strongly correlated to depth of organic material and associated soil properties and hydrologic regimes. Pond pine woodland dominated mineral soils; both pond pine woodland and nonriverine swamp forest were found on histic and shallow organic soils; both high pocosin and bay forest were found on deep organic soils. Examination of the data included simple averaging, single factor analyses of variance, Fisher's protected least significant differences, chi-square tests of independence, cluster analyses, and ordination procedures. The application of this material was intended for a North Carolina Department of Transportation Carolina Bay mitigation project and future Carolina Bay restoration projects in this region.
Date: 2004-11-11
Degree: MS
Discipline: Botany

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