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Title:The Influence of Fluvial Geomorphic Processes on Spatial Patterns of Forest Primary Succession
Author(s):Robertson, Kevin Matthew
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Augspurger, Carol K.
Department / Program:Plant Biology
Discipline:Plant Biology
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Agriculture, Forestry and Wildlife
Abstract:I investigated spatial patterns of tree species in primary successional forests along depositional point bars at river bends of the Bogue Chitto River, Louisiana, USA and on nine additional rivers in the southeastern US. I hypothesized that geomorphic processes associated with river planform cause patterns of tree species to vary predictably along point bars as well as with increasing age of land during forest primary succession. By mapping trees and seedlings I determined that common canopy species in the first stage of succession were located predictably along either an upstream or downstream segment of each point bar in association with elevation, a correlate to hydroperiod. I conducted a three-year field experiment to test the relative effects of physical flood damage, inundation, and soil moisture on locations of seedling emergence and survival, with measured environmental variables as covariates. Availability of soil moisture was the most important limitation to seedling survival. Cohorts of seedlings were followed for four years to test the relationship between seedling survival and patterns of tree species. Mortality during the first year limited individuals to their species-specific long-term locations along point bars. Patterns of recruitment along point bars were consistent among years and among river bends in the reach. I developed a multi-species demographic model to test the predictability of demographic processes during succession. Patterns of establishment along the point bar, as well as community changes with time, have been fairly consistent during the past 60 years of succession, although relative abundance of species within stages may fluctuate through time. Surveys of ten rivers in the southeastern US coastal plain revealed that seven have the predicted pattern of tree species. Analysis of aerial photographs and hydrographs suggested that intermediate stream energy level, single channel meandering planform, high precipitation, and naturally fluctuating hydrolographs predict the predicted pattern of species. My research applied a multi-scale and interdisciplinary approach to identify causes of a previously unstudied complex but predictable pattern of primary succession characterizing rivers in a large physiographic region.
Issue Date:2001
Description:200 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2001.
Other Identifier(s):(MiAaPQ)AAI3017197
Date Available in IDEALS:2015-09-28
Date Deposited:2001

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