The influence of hydrologic restoration on the productivity of a bottomland forest in central Ohio
Contributors:Mitsch, William J.
Tuttle, Cassandra L.
Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
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Series/Report no.:Annual report (Olentangy River Wetland Research Park)
Change in forest productivity in response to hydrologic restoration was evaluated at a 5.2-ha bottomland hardwood forest in central Ohio. In June 2000, the bottomland forest was restored to approximate natural flooding by cutting three breeches in an artificial levee constructed between the river and the forest (north section) and a fourth breech along the natural river bank to augment flooding at the south section. Total aboveground net primary productivity (ANPP) was calculated for the two sections of the forest using estimated forest litterfall and wood production. No significant difference in mean ANPP for the north section (807 ± 86 g m-2 yr-1) and the south section (869 ± 56 g m-2 yr-1) was detected; however the north section was substantially more productivity than a previous ANPP estimate conducted before restoration. A significant positive relationship was detected between ANPP and the number of days flooded during the year (October 2003 - September 2004) in each plot. Forest ANPP and wood production were also significantly related to total tree basal area and topographic variability. Tree ring-analysis was used to compare mean basal area increment (BAI) growth 10 years (1991-2000) before the restoration to the 4 years (2001-2004) after the restoration. No immediate shifts in BAI were detected; however based on prevailing trends before and after restoration, canopy trees in the south section showed a noteworthy increase in BAI during 2003 and 2004. This shift in the south section was primarily due to the prevalence of boxelder (Acer negundo L.), the dominant species in this section. Evaluating the 14-yr series of BAI for trees in the bottomland, a significant relationship was detected between the total number of days of high-flood conditions (>154 m3 sec-1) and mean BAI (cm2 yr-1) based on a two-year flooding history.
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