Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 11, Issue 3, pp 569–578 | Cite as

Cypress dome characteristics within one county of the Southern United States: a case study of changes

  • Pete BettingerEmail author
Original Article


Cypress domes are non-transient, disconnected, depressional wetland areas scattered about the southern United States. Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.), swamp tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica var. biflora) and other trees species typically occupy these sites. Even though these areas are relatively fixed on the landscape, given land use changes over the last 60–70 years, the spatial character of the resource may have undergone some change as well. A small case study of one Georgia county suggests that there was net decrease in cypress dome land area from 1940 to 2007. The case study also suggests that there was a significant change in the land class(es) adjacent to or containing cypress domes. In addition, the physical shape of cypress domes seems to have changed, perhaps due to mechanical treatment of the land during commercial forestry operations. While the shape of cypress domes that were adjacent to mature forests in 1940 was not significantly different than the shape of the same cypress domes that were adjacent to mature forests in 2007, the shape of cypress domes adjacent to agricultural land and pasture/forest land uses in 1940 was significantly different in shape than their 2007 counterparts. Thus, the value of this study is in suggesting that the physical shape of cypress domes that were once adjacent to agricultural or pasture/forest lands seems to have changed, perhaps due to mechanical treatment of the land during the transition from agricultural practices to commercial forestry operations. The study also highlights the need for assessing the hydrologic changes in wetland function due to changes in cypress dome shape, and due to mechanical operations used along the edges of cypress domes to effectively adjust their shape. Research along these lines can lead to a better understanding of the spatial character of the cypress resource in areas that were once used for agricultural or pasture/forest purposes and may lead to more effective management strategies for protecting its role in society.


Geospatial analysis Air photo interpretation Land use change Fractal dimension 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Warnell School of Forestry and Natural ResourcesUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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