Plant Ecology

, 202:257 | Cite as

Regeneration potential of Taxodium distichum swamps and climate change

  • Beth A. MiddletonEmail author


Seed bank densities respond to factors across local to landscape scales, and therefore, knowledge of these responses may be necessary in forecasting the effects of climate change on the regeneration of species. This study relates the seed bank densities of species of Taxodium distichum swamps to local water regime and regional climate factors at five latitudes across the Mississippi River Alluvial Valley from southern Illinois to Louisiana. In an outdoor nursery setting, the seed banks of twenty-five swamps were exposed to non-flooded (freely drained) or flooded treatments, and the number and species of seeds germinating were recorded from each swamp during one growing season. Based on ANOVA analysis, the majority of dominant species had a higher rate of germination in non-flooded versus flooded treatments. Similarly, an NMS comparison, which considered the local water regime and regional climate of the swamps, found that the species of seeds germinating, almost completely shifted under non-flooded versus flooded treatments. For example, in wetter northern swamps, seeds of Taxodium distichum germinated in non-flooded conditions, but did not germinate from the same seed banks in flooded conditions. In wetter southern swamps, seeds of Eleocharis cellulosa germinated in flooded conditions, but did not germinate in non-flooded conditions. The strong relationship of seed germination and density relationships with local water regime and regional climate variables suggests that the forecasting of climate change effects on swamps and other wetlands needs to consider a variety of interrelated variables to make adequate projections of the regeneration responses of species to climate change. Because regeneration is an important aspect of species maintenance and restoration, climate drying could influence the species distribution of these swamps in the future.


Baldcypress Climate drying Distribution Global warming Latitude Precipitation Range compression Seed bank Seed dispersal Temperature 


U.S.D.A. (2002) 



This project was funded by the United States Geological Survey (8343-9HC4F). I would like to thank Ben Handley for field assistance on the project. Also thanks to Rassa Dale and Darren Johnson for statistical support, as well as Beth Vairin, Ken Krauss, Kari Foster, anonymous reviewers and the editor for critical review of the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.USGS National Wetlands Research CenterLafayetteUSA

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