Effects of Flooding on the Longleaf Pine-Wiregrass Ecosystem

Thumbnail Image
Michener, William K.
Blood, Elizabeth R.
Golladay, Stephen W.
Kirkman, L. Katherine
Mitchell, Robert J.
Palik, Brian J.
Hatcher, Kathryn J.
Associated Organization(s)
Supplementary to
Flood waters associated with Tropical Storm Alberto inundated 21 km2 of uplands at Ichauway, a 115 km 2 ecological reserve located in southwestern Georgia. At the landscape scale, sink holes were formed, landslides and erosion occurred along riverine bluffs and terraces, and sediment deposition occurred along all riparian corridors. Xeric habitats, dominated by longleaf pine-wiregrass and scrub-shrub, were disproportionately affected by flooding on an area basis. Longleaf pine seedlings and saplings with apical meristems above high water always survived. Mortality of submerged longleaf pine and wiregrass was positively related to flooding depth and duration. Treefall in bluff riparian zones and hardwood hammocks reflected species composition within the two habitats although oaks and southern red cedar were the most commonly downed trees in both habitats. Higher treefall was observed in bluff riparian zones and may be related to constrained stream channel geomorphology. Although infrequent, flooding appears to be important in governing the structure and function of the longleaf pine-wiregrass ecosystem and, along with other disturbances, should be explicitly incorporated into reserve and riparian corridor planning and design.
Sponsored and Organized by: U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology
Date Issued
Resource Type
Resource Subtype
Rights Statement
Rights URI