Identifier

etd-02272012-172501

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Renewable Natural Resources

Document Type

Thesis

Abstract

Changing hydrology and climate have significantly altered ecologically significant cypress-tupelo forests in the deltaic plain of the Mississippi River. Though local responses of these swamps to hydrology are relatively well understood, broad-scale evaluation of ecological response differences of deltaic wetland forests has been limited by the lack of site-specific coupled hydrologic and ecological data. Baldcypress tree-rings from twenty-two sites were used to examine the responses of coastal swamp forests throughout the deltaic plain to environmental variables. The responses of these forests to environmental variables varied spatially; however, broad-scale measures of deltaic hydrology were more correlated with tree radial growth than were climatic variables. A strong relationship between coastal water levels and river stage suggests that river stage often controls coastal water levels near the coast, so that even sites not locally hydrologically connected to the river experience broad-scale effects of annual variability in Mississippi river stage. Thus, even though the river is leveed, river stage appears to have significant impacts on forest productivity through linkages with coastal water levels.

Date

2012

Document Availability at the Time of Submission

Release the entire work immediately for access worldwide.

Committee Chair

Chambers, Jim

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