, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 141–148 | Cite as

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.) restoration in southeast Louisiana: The relative effects of herbivory, flooding, competition, and macronutrients

  • Randell S. Myers
  • Gary P. Shaffer
  • Daniel W. Llewellyn


In the early 1900s, old-growth baldcypress (Taxodium distichum) was completely logged out of what is now the Manchac Wildlife Management Area, located in the Lake Pontchartrain Basin, Louisiana. Natural regeneration of swamp did not occur; the area is currently dominated by bulltongue (Sagittaria lancifolia) marsh. This study was conducted to isolate the major factors prohibiting cypress restoration. Specifically, four hundred baldcypress seedlings were planted in a three-way factorial treatment arrangement that included nutrient augmentation (fertilized vs. unfertilized), management of entangling vegetation (managed vs. unmanaged), herbivore protection (Tubex tree shelters, PVC sleeves, Tanglefoot), and elevation (included as a covariable). Highly significant differences in diameter growth were found for all main effects. For the herbivore protection treatment, relatively inexpensive PVC sleeves were as effective as Tubex Tree Shelters; unprotected trees experienced 100% mortality. Seedlings that received Osmocote 18-6-12 fertilizer showed nearly a two-fold increase in diameter growth. Similarly, seedlings that were managed grew nearly two times greater in diameter than unmanaged seedlings. However, seedlings that wereunmanaged grew nearly two times greater in height than managed seedlings. This study indicates that biotic factors are primarily responsible for the lack of cypress regeneration in southeastern Louisiana, not the prevalent, but largely untested, hypothesis of salt-water intrusion. Moreover, it is likely that, with a combination of management techniques, it is possible to restore swamp habitat in this area. Though labor intensive in the short run (i.e., first few years), once established, these trees may survive for hundreds of years.

Key Words

baldcypress Taxodium distichum nutria Myocastor coypus restoration Louisiana Pontchartrain 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature Cited

  1. Aust, W. M. 1989. Abiotic functional changes of a water tupelobaldcypress wetland following disturbance by harvesting. Ph.D. Dissertation. North Carolina State University Raleigh, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  2. Blair, R. M. and M. J. Langlinais. 1960. Nutria and swamp rabbit damage toTaxodium distichum seedlings. Journal of Forestry 58: 388–389.Google Scholar
  3. Brandt, K. and K. C. Ewel. 1989. Ecology and management of cypress swamps: a review. Florida Cooperative Extension Service Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. USA. Bulletin 252.Google Scholar
  4. Brantley, C. G. and S. G. Platt. 1992. Experimental evaluation of nutria herbivory on baldcypress. Proceedings of Louisiana Academy of Sciences 55:21–25.Google Scholar
  5. Brown, S. L. 1981. A comparison of the structure, primary productivity, and transpiration of cypress ecosystems in Florida. Ecological Monographs 51:403–427.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Chabreck, R. H. 1972. Vegetation water, and soil characteristics of the Louisiana coastal region. LA Agricultural Experiment Station. Baton Rouge, LA, USA. Bulletin 664.Google Scholar
  7. Cockerham, W. J., R. E. Dance, A. G. White, and B. E. Spicer. 1973. Soil survey of St. James and St. John the Baptist Parishes. Louisiana. U.S. Department of Agriculture Soil Conservation Service and Louisiana State University Agricultural Experiment Station. Baton Rouge, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  8. Conner, W. H. 1988. Natural and artificial regeneration of baldcypress in the Barataria and Lake Verret Basins of Louisiana. Ph.D. Dissertation. Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  9. Conner, W. H. and G. R. Askew. 1993. Response of baldcypress and loblolly pine seedlings to short-term saltwater flooding. Wetlands 12:230–233.Google Scholar
  10. Conner, W. H. and M. Brody. 1989. Rising water levels and the future of southeastern Louisiana swamp forests. Estuaries 12:318–323.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Conner, W. H. and J. W. Day, Jr. 1992a. Diameter growth ofTaxodium distichum (L.) Rich. andNyssa/aquatica L. from 1979–1985 in four Louisiana swamp stands. American Midland Naturalist 128:237–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Conner, W. H. and K. Flynn. 1989. Growth and survival of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.) planted across a flooding gradient in a Louisiana bottomland hardwood forest. Wetlands 9:207–217.Google Scholar
  13. Conner, W. H. and J. R. Toliver. 1987. Vexar seedling protectors did not reduce nutria damage to planted baldcypress seedlings. Tree Planters’ Notes 38:26–29.Google Scholar
  14. Conner, W. H., J. R. Toliver, and G. R. Askew. 1993. Artificial regeneration of baldcypress in a Louisiana crayfish pond. Southern Journal of Forestry 17:54–57.Google Scholar
  15. Conner, W. H., J. R. Toliver and F. H. Sklar. 1986. Natural regeneration of baldcypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.) in a Louisiana swamp. Forest Ecology and Management 14:305–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cornier, E. S., K. K. O’Hara, Jr., and C. M. Capello. 1989. Louisiana water quality data summary 1982–1983. LA Department of Environmental Quality, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  17. Day, F. P. and J. P. Megonigal. 1993. The relationship between variable hydroperiod, production allocation, and belowground organic turnover in forested wetlands. Wetlands 13:115–121.Google Scholar
  18. Dicke, S. G. and J. R. Toliver. 1990. Growth and development of baldcypress/water-tupelo stands under continuous versus seasonal flooding. Forest Ecology and Management 33/34:523–530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Greene, M. 1994. The interacting effects of allogenic and autogenic agents on selected swamp and freshmarsh vegetation. M. S. Thesis. Southeastern Louisiana University, Hammond, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Grime, J. P. 1979. Plant Strategies and Vegetation Processes. John Wiley, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  21. Hammer, D. A. 1992. Creating Freshwater Wetlands. Lewis Publishers. Chelsea, MI, USA.Google Scholar
  22. Kinler, N. and P. Coreil. 1992. Nutria and Muskrat Symposium. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, LA Cooperative Extension Service, Baton, Rouge, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  23. Kozlowski, T. T. 1984. Responses of woody plants to flooding. p. 129–163. In T. T. Kozlowski (ed.) Flooding and plant growth. Academic Press. New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  24. Llewellyn, D. W. and G. P. Shaffer. 1993. Marsh restoration in the presence of intense herbivory: the role ofJusticia lanceolata. Wetlands 13:176–184.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Mancil, E. 1980. Pullboat logging. Journal of Forestry History July: 135–141.Google Scholar
  26. Megonigal, J. P. and F. P. Day. 1992. Effects of flooding on root and shoot production of baldcypress in large experimental exclosures. Ecology 73:1182–1193.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Mendelssohn, I. A. and K. L. McKee. 1988.Spartina alterniflora die-back in Louisiana: time-course investigation of soil waterlogging effects. Journal of Ecology 76:509–521.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pezeshki, S. R. 1990. A comparative study of the response ofTaxodium distinchum andNyssa aquatica seedlings to soil anaerobiosis and salinity. Forest Ecology and Management 33/34:531–541.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Platt, S. G. 1988. A checklist of the flora of the Manchac Wildlife Management Area, St. John the Baptist Parish. Louisiana. Proceedings of Louisiana Academy of Sciences 51:15–20.Google Scholar
  30. SAS Institute, Inc. 1993. SAS User’s Guide: Statistics, Version 5 edition. Cary, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  31. Shaffer, G. P., C. E. Sasser, J. G. Gosselink, and M. Rejmanek. 1992. Vegetation dynamics in the emerging Atchafalaya Delta, Louisiana, USA. Journal of Ecology 80:677–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Steel, R. G. D. and J. H. Torrie. 1980. Principles and Procedures of Statistics: a Biometrical Approach. McGraw-Hill, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  33. Wicker, K. M., D. Davis, M. DeRouen, and D. Roberts. 1981. Assessment of extent and impact of saltwater intrusion into the wetlands of Tangipahoa Parish, Louisiana. Coastal Environments, Inc, Baton Rouge, LA, USA.Google Scholar
  34. Williston, H. L., F. W. Shropshire, and W. E. Balmer. 1980. Cypress Management: A Forgotten Opportunity. U. S. Department of Agriculture Forestry Service, New Orleans, LA, USA. Forestry Report SA-Fr 8.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Randell S. Myers
    • 1
  • Gary P. Shaffer
    • 1
  • Daniel W. Llewellyn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological Sciences, SLU-814Southeastern Louisiana UniversityHammond

Personalised recommendations