, Volume 23, Issue 7, pp 771-786
Date: 12 Jun 2008

Stream and wetland landscape patterns in watersheds with different cranberry agriculture histories, southern New Jersey, USA

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Abstract

Stream and wetland-landscape patterns in watersheds that drain active-cranberry bogs, abandoned-cranberry bogs, and forest land with no history of cranberry agriculture were compared at three different levels of detail. Stream-pattern variables included drainage density, sinuosity, and the number, density, and length of ditches. Landscape-pattern measures included wetland-patch structure (the size, shape, and number of wetland patches) and cover-type composition. The results of the stream-pattern analysis indicated that the effect of past and present cranberry agriculture on stream-drainage patterns was limited primarily to the occurrence of ditches. A greater number, density, median length, and total length of ditches were observed in cranberry and abandoned-bog basins compared to forest basins. Drainage density and sinuosity of the remaining non-ditched stream segments did not differ between basin types. Excluding areas of active-cranberry bogs where the native vegetation was removed, there was no significant difference in the relative number, size, shape, and composition of the remaining vegetation-cover types between the three basin types. The exact type and extent of vegetation removed to establish bogs in the active and abandoned basins are not known, but based on soil type and vegetation class associations, it was estimated that the largest losses were of pitch pine lowlands and cedar swamps.