Bottomland hardwood restoration and implications for water quality

Author(s): Frey, B.; Ouyang, Y.; Stoll, J.

Over the last several decades, bottomland restoration efforts have established hundreds of thousands of acres of planted hardwood stands across floodplains of the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (LMAV). Major goals of these afforestation efforts are to restore forest cover for the enhancement of wildlife habitat, soil conservation, and water quality. However, few studies have evaluated the effects of bottomland afforestation on soil and water quality, particularly in relationship to different sites conditions, planting mixtures, and over time as these afforestation stands mature. Studies have suggested that bottomland forest restoration could play an important role in carbon and nitrogen removal, particularly in connected floodplains in the LMAV. This presentation will review our research investigating stand development, growth and biomass of young (10-20 year old) planted oak stands and management activities that are being considered for these stands. We will also discuss our proposed research to investigate soil and hydrological processes in relation to stand development. Knowledge of stand growth, linked with soil and hydrological processes, is needed to evaluate the role of bottomland afforestation efforts in enhancing soil and water quality. This information will be important for addressing the impacts of these forest restoration efforts and identifying opportunities to improve their efficacy.
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