Abstracts

Impacts of reforestation/deforestation upon surface water quality in Mississippi River Basin

Author(s): Ouyang, Y.

Among the world’s largest coastal and river basins, the Mississippi River Basin (MRB) is one of the most disturbed by human activity. Changes in agricultural and forest practices, clearcutting in bottomland hardwood forests, and conversions from forests to agricultural lands are largely responsible for the increased nutrient, sediment, and other pollutant loads into the Mississippi River (MR) and the adjacent Gulf of Mexico (GOM). The excess nutrient load has resulted in the increased extent and severity of the seasonal hypoxic zones, the altered species composition, and the decreased overall health of aquatic communities in the MRB and adjacent GOM. Additionally, the elevated sediment load has been recognized as both a carrier and a potential source of contaminants in aquatic environments due to their adsorption of toxic constituents. In spite of numerous efforts have been devoted to investigating the relationships between the ecological and environmental consequences of deforestation and the benefits of reforestation, very few efforts have been devoted to scrutinizing and synthesizing the effects of reforestation on water quality in the MRB. This study was undertaken to investigate (1) impacts of deforestation on water quality (e.g., nutrients and sediments), and (2) effects of reforestation and forestry management practices on surface water quality. Synthesized the review findings, we have identified the relevant knowledge gaps and recommended future research needs to assist forest and water resource managers in making timely decisions for water quality improvements in the MRB and the adjacent GOM.
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