Bottomland Forests in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley Associated with the Endangered Lindera melissifolia


Tracy S. Hawkins

Additional Authors:

Daniel A. Skojac, Jr., Brian R. Lockhart, Theodor D. Leininger, Margaret S. Devall, Nathan M. Schiff


June 2009


ABSTRACT Forest canopy and subcanopy data were collected from and compared among five disjunct bottomland hardwood forests in the Lower Mississippi Alluvial Valley, each with known occurrence of a population of the federally endangered shrub Lindera melissifolia. All study sites are cut-over forests, underlain by hydric soils, and have a seasonal high water table. Canopy and subcanopy species are similar among sites, but species differ in relative importance, and flood tolerant tree species exceed that of flood intolerant species. Distribution of L. melissifolia colonies within each study site was not associated with mean tree density or d.b.h. Forest composition and structure at each study site reflect hydrologic regime, topography, historical disturbance, and an absence of recent disturbance. Results of this study provide a quantitative description of bottomland forests that currently sustain L. melissifolia populations. This information may be utilized for development of forest management plans aimed at ensuring continued sustainability of existing L. melissifolia populations and assessing other bottomland hardwood forests for potential reintroduction of this endangered species.