Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Presentation: Vegetation and Stand Structure of a Columbia Bottomlands Forest Remnant
Southwest Region, March 3, 2006
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On March 3rd, Botanist David J. Rosen of the Clear Lake Ecological Services Office and Dr. Diane De Steven of the USDA Forest Service, Southern Research Station, presented a research paper at the 109th annual meeting of the Texas Academy of Science at Lamar University in Beaumont.  The paper entitled Vegetation and Stand Structure of a Columbia Bottomlands Forest Remnant provided a summary of results of over three years of floristic and vegetation research at the Dance Bayou Unit of the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  The Columbia Bottomlands encompasses the bottomland hardwood forests of the lower reaches of the Brazos, Colorado, and San Bernard Rivers.  Comprising more than 283,000 ha at the beginning of the last century, these forests are now reduced to fragmented stands that are being destroyed or degraded through residential and commercial development, overgrazing, timbering, and exotic plant infestation.  As the only forest expanses along the Texas Gulf Coast, the Columbia Bottomlands are considered nationally important as stopover and staging habitat for Nearctic-Neotropical migrant landbirds.  Rosen conducted a floristic survey and quantitative study at the Dance Bayou Unit, a 263-ha satellite unit of the San Bernard National Wildlife Refuge.  Surveys identified 356 species of vascular plants representing 83 families and 237 genera.  Families containing the most species were Poaceae (54 spp.), Asteraceae (35 spp.), Cyperaceae (32 spp.), and Fabaceae (20 spp.).  The largest genus was Carex, with 19 species.  Non-native species accounted for 15 % of all species.  Vegetation composition differed by microhabitat, and ordination analysis identified a well-defined association that fits within the Acer rubrum - Fraxinus pennsylvanica Seasonally Flooded Forest Alliance.  Floristic and forest stand data can assist managers and conservationists in protection efforts for the Columbia Bottomlands.


Contact Info: Martin Valdez, 505-248-6599, martin_valdez@fws.gov
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