Wetlands

, Volume 29, Issue 2, pp 407–412 | Cite as

Floodplain ecosystems of the Southeast: Linkages between forests and people

Article

Abstract

Floodplain forests are critically linked to society’s welfare and will rise immensely in value as water related issues become increasingly important. Although progress has been made in promoting the importance of floodplain wetlands to the public and in successfully manipulating wetland systems toward particular goals, we are still quick to generalize and may neglect some of the complexities of these systems during our research, management, and restoration efforts. Within the Southeast, floodplain inundation varies from near constant to none, and forest net primary productivity (NPP) ranges from near the highest of the temperate zone to among the lowest. The complex entanglements of hydroperiod and all other floodplain forest processes and traits are daunting. Our greatest challenge may be to understand and base actions on societal influences and landscape evolution within watersheds and floodplains. It will become increasingly less relevant to study, manage, or try to restore portions of floodplains without due consideration of past, current, and future socioeconomic drivers and land use trends within basins and watersheds. The human footprint on these critical systems has been very distinct for the last 200–300 years; now, it is becoming enormous and must be fully taken into account if we are to be successful in maintaining significant amounts of floodplain forests in the Southeast.

Key Words

forest floodplains legacy impacts land use societal linkages 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Forestry and Wildlife SciencesAuburn UniversityAuburnUSA

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