Southeastern bottomland hardwood forests provision critically important, and highly valued, ecosystem services including biodiversity, flood protection, carbon storage, recreation, and clean/clear water. Land conversion, ditching, heavy bedding/furrowing, development, fragmentation, and narrowly?focused forest management threaten their ability to sustain flows of such integral ecosystem services long?term. Responsible forest management of bottomland forests can be done in ways that maintain or enhance their ecological integrity and stability, while simultaneously generating income and supplying wood products.
In the Atlantic Coastal Plain (ACP), clearcut harvests are commonly used to regenerate stands due to the autoecology of desired species, the flooding regime of the coastal plain, and limited availability of harvesting equipment that is economically feasible to operate in wet forest stands. In the lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley (MAV), intermediate treatments (e.g. thinning) and selection system silviculture (e.g. group selection) are more common and economically attractive than in the ACP. This is partially due to differencesin the silvics of tree species, increased value on forest structure and wildlife, and the availability of different harvesting equipment.
This field-based learning exchange will bring together experts from the ACP and MAV to compare these two geographies based on social, ecological, and economic factors. An emphasis will be placed on the connection between forestry and hydrology, and how responsible forest management can play an integral role in conserving the whole system on a watershed-level. Through this event we hope to improve the management and conservation of bottomland forests and illustrate opportunities to meet diverse social values.