Bottomland hardwood forests (BLH) are found in temperate, humid regions of the southeastern US, primarily on alluvial floodplains adjacent to rivers. Altered hydrology in rivers and floodplains has caused changes in stand development and species composition of BLHs. We hypothesize that the driving mechanisms behind these changes are related to the regeneration process because of the complexity of recruitment and the vulnerability of species at that age in development. Here we review the state of our understanding regarding BLH regeneration, and identify potential bottlenecks throughout the stages of seed production, seed dispersal, germination, establishment, and survival. Our process-level understanding of regeneration by seed in BLHs is rudimentary, thus limiting our ability to predict the effects of hydrologic alterations on species composition. By focusing future research on the appropriate stages of regeneration, we can better understand the sources of forest-community transitions across the diverse range of BLH systems.
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Vol. 15 • No. sp9