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Classifying hydrologic regimes using the radial growth patterns of Atlantic White Cedar

Authors: Joshua Kincaid*, Shenandoah University, Robert Atkinson, Christopher Newport University, Julie Slater, Christopher Newport University, Abigail Weaver, Christopher Newport University
Topics: Physical Geography, Biogeography, Water Resources and Hydrology
Keywords: white cedar, hydrology, wetlands, forest restoration, classification, Dismal Swamp
Session Type: Poster
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Atlantic white cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides) is a moderately shade tolerant coniferous tree species native to eastern North America. The species is found within a narrow band along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts from Maine to Mississippi. Atlantic white cedar typically occurs in small, pure stands and scattered patches along the edges of low elevation freshwater swamps and sandy streams. Commercial logging and coastal development have reduced the extent of Atlantic white cedar throughout its range. In the Dismal Swamp, restoration of this forest type is desired because of the ecosystem services it provides. However, Atlantic white cedar restoration has been limited by a lack of historic water table data. The purpose of this research is to use the radial growth patterns of Atlantic white cedar to classify hydrologic regimes and aid forest restoration efforts in the Dismal Swamp. Results suggest that stands within the restoration management unit of Great Dismal Swamp National Wildlife Refuge can be classified as temporarily flooded. However, a seasonally flooded, saturated regime is required for self-maintenance of Atlantic white cedar swamps. This research should prove useful for describing historic hydrologic regimes and providing the information necessary for successful Atlantic white cedar establishment.

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