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1 September 2009 Identifying Baldcypress-Water Tupelo Regeneration Classes in Forested Wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana
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Baldcypress-water tupelo (cypress-tupelo) swamps are critically important coastal forested wetlands found throughout the southeastern U.S. The long-term survival and sustainability of these swamp forests is unknown due to large-scale changes in hydrologic regimes that prevent natural regeneration following logging or mortality. We used NWI wetland maps and remotely sensed hydrologic data to map cypress-tupelo communities, surface water, and the extent and location of proposed regeneration condition classes for cypress-tupelo swamps in the Atchafalaya Basin, LA. Only 6,175 ha (5.8%) of the 106,227 ha of cypress-tupelo forest in the Lower Atchafalaya Basin Floodway was classified as capable of naturally regenerating. Over 23% (24,525 ha) of the forest area was mapped as unable to regenerate either naturally or artificially. The loss and conversion of nearly 25,000 ha of cypress-tupelo forest would have significant and long-lasting impacts on ecosystem services such as wildlife habitat for birds and Louisiana black bears. Given the landscape-scale changes in surface elevations and flooding depths and durations throughout southern Louisiana, similar conditions and impacts are likely applicable to all coastal cypress-tupelo forests in Louisiana. Better data on flooding during the growing season are needed to more accurately identify and refine the location and spatial extent of the regeneration condition classes.

Stephen P. Faulkner, Prajwol Bhattarai, Yvonne Allen, John Barras, and Glenn Constant "Identifying Baldcypress-Water Tupelo Regeneration Classes in Forested Wetlands of the Atchafalaya Basin, Louisiana," Wetlands 29(3), 809-817, (1 September 2009).
Received: 12 November 2008; Accepted: 1 March 2009; Published: 1 September 2009

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