Ecosystem Function and Restoration in the Cache River Bioreserve-Final Report
Department of Agribusiness Economics, SIUC
The main purpose of this grant was to give undergraduate students research experience via ongoing studies of cypress swamps in southern Illinois. The research was on a riverine system with altered hydrology, Buttonland Swamp, where sedimentation and protracted periods of inundation have the potential of disrupting the regeneration of cypress swamp species . To explore this idea, seed banks and seedlings from Buttonland Swamp were exposed to various levels of water depth and sedimentation . In the experiment, the highest number of seedlings germinated from seed banks which were not exposed to either inundation or sediments (58 seedlings M-2) . Seed germination was very limited by even low amounts of sediment (0.01-2 cm sediment depth) . Cypress seedlings were limited more by water depth than by sedimentation . Survivorship of seedlings was reduced if overtopped by water (0% survivorship) but survived for the most part when exposed to sediment . However, if cypress seedlings were exposed to 15 cm of sediment under 10 cm of water or more, these died (0% survivorship). All experiments of seedlings conducted in the field failed either due to transplant shock or interference by raccoon . Overall these studies supported on-going studies showing that regeneration in Buttonland Swamp can only occur at the highest elevations of winter flooding . This research parallels the findings of other studies of forested wetlands with altered hydrology in the southeastern and western United States.
Bennett, D., B. Middleton, S. Kraft, C. Lant, J. Beaulieu, D. Sharpe, R. Sengupta, R. Beck, K. Cook, and K. Flanagan. Ecosystem Function and Restoration in the Cache River Bioreserve—Final Report. Submitted to the Southern Illinois Field of The Nature Conservancy. Carbondale, IL: Dept. of Agribusiness Economics, SIUC.