Evaluating the Impact of Intermittent Flooding on Growth and Annual Productivity of Non-Managed Loblolly Pine Stands at the B. Everett Jordan Lake Reservoir, North Carolina

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Title: Evaluating the Impact of Intermittent Flooding on Growth and Annual Productivity of Non-Managed Loblolly Pine Stands at the B. Everett Jordan Lake Reservoir, North Carolina
Author: Broadway, Chad
Abstract: Broadway, Chad A. Master of Environmental Assessment Program. Evaluating the Impact of Intermittent Flooding on Growth and Annual Productivity of Non-Managed Loblolly Pine Stands at the B. Everett Jordan Lake Reservoir, North Carolina. Climate change is associated with increases in storm intensity and variability in storm frequency. In North Carolina, more intense rainfall events coupled with increased impervious surfaces from land development have resulted in greater peak flows and total volumes of stormwater discharge. Increases in stormwater volume and flow can result in sudden increases in reservoir levels and flooding, potentially impacting forests located adjacent to surface waters and reservoirs. Many of North Carolina’s reservoirs are surrounded by loblolly pine (Pinus taeda, L.) which naturally established on former agricultural lands at the time of reservoir construction. Flood control reservoirs experience rising reservoir levels associated with rainfall events, resulting in temporary inundation of areas typically upland of the water level. This study collected select biometric measurements and annual growth measurements of loblolly pines in areas subject to intermittent flooding as well as areas never flooded around the B. Everett Jordan Lake Reservoir, located in Chatham County, North Carolina. Daily reservoir elevation is recorded by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for Jordan Lake; hence, these data, with field plot elevation measurements, enabled determination of both flooding frequency and duration. Field plots were established around the lake based on easy egress to natural pine stands. Each plot was selected by identifying a dominant tree first, followed by selection of nearby co-dominant and intermediate crown classes. Tree height, diameter at breast height, height to canopy, and canopy condition were determined. Two increment tree cores were collected from each tree at 90-degree angles, mounted onto wood blocks, sanded, and digitized for annual growth and tree age using CDendro and CooRecorder (Cybris Dendrochronology) software. A geospatial analysis of the site data and historic reservoir level data yielded the frequency and duration of flooding events for each sample plot over the record of reservoir data (1974-present). Non-parametric statistical analyses evaluated if differences existed between annual growth for flooded and non-flooded trees of the same crown class. The focus of the statistical analysis was years with total annual precipitation that was one standard deviation above or below the mean annual precipitation for the study period. Of the 51 separate statistical analyses conducted in this study, strong statistical significance in annual productivity was only observed in eight of the 51 sample groups, indicating that temporary intermittent flooding may have minimal impact on the annual growth rates of mature loblolly pines.
Date: 2020-12
URI: https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.20/39358


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