Restoring Bottomland Hardwood Forests on U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Lands: 2016 Monitoring Report
ERDC-EL VICKSBURG United States
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The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers USACE Vicksburg District manages over 12,000 ha of restored bottomland hardwood forests within the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley. Restored forest stand ages within the region vary from five 5 to 26 years, providing opportunities to document increases in wetland function across a restoration chronosequence. Additionally, conducting repeated monitoring at restored sites over multiple years allows for an examination of restoration benefits as forest succession occurs. During 2016, wetland functional assessment data was collected and analyzed from 606 sample locations collected within 12 restored bottomland hardwood forest sites. Results indicate that 1 wetland assessment variables show continued progress toward mature forest conditions 2 wetland assessment variables follow expected recovery trajectories 3 wetland functional scores display statistically significant increases across the restoration chronosequence and 4 wetland functional scores improve over multiple years of monitoring. Results display a functional lag between restored areas undergoing ecological succession and mature e.g., 80-year-old reference forests. However, a subset of wetland functions in restored sites have attained reference conditions in areas approaching or exceeding tree diameter and canopy closure thresholds.