Evaluation of Insect Defoliation in Baldcypress and Its Relationship to Flooding
NATIONAL BIOLOGICAL SERVICE LAFAYETTE LA SOUTHERN SCIENCE CENTER
Pagination or Media Count:
This project was undertaken to delineate the extent of defoliation of baldcypress and to compare defoliation and refoliation rates under different flooding regimes in naturally occurring field situations. Three hydrologic or flooding regimes are compared nonflooded, seasonally flooded, and permanently flooded. Baldcypress radial growth, short-term basal area increments, dieback or tree canopies, and historical growth and flooding levels are evaluated. Fruittree leafroller defoliation of baldcypress was compared in 1992 to 1993 showing sufficient damage each year so that significant loss of radial and basal area growth resulted when combined with the effects of increased flooding levels and duration. Reduced growth after increased insect defoliation was compared in permanently flooded areas with nonflooded regimes. Combined effect of insect defoliation and flooding on the health and survival of understory baldcypress saplings shows both canopy dieback and death. The fruittree leafroller appears to be important in furthering the rapid decline of baldcypress in the ecologically and biologically important wetlands.