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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

The Long Term Resource Monitoring Program

An element of the Upper Mississippi River Restoration - Environmental Management Program

Next generation forest on the Upper Mississippi River floodplain

Upper Mississippi River Restoration - Environmental Management Program U. S. Army Corps of Enineers


The forest we witness today on the floodplain of the Upper Mississippi River is the product of intensive anthropogenic activities that included logging, conversion of prairie/forest land to farmland and then reforestation, and altered surface and underground hydrology (Yin et al. 1998, Nelson et al. 2000). A major portion of the forest was established after the installation of the navigational lock and dam system during the 1930s and 1940s. Compared with its historical counterpart, today's forest consists of fewer flood-intolerant species, especially mast-producing oaks and hickories, and less age differentiation between stands.

Relevance of research to UMRS/LTRMP:

Scientific prediction of the species composition of the forest over the next 50 years would provide useful information in the management of the forest resources of the floodplain. The Long Term Resource Monitoring Project staff conducted an initial survey of forest composition in 1995 following the flood of 1993. This major flood reset the clock of forest succession providing us with the perfect opportunity to monitor succession. We propose to use the predictions developed in 1995 and to re-examine forest vegetation now that 10 years have elapsed since the flood. These new data would be used in validating and recalibrating model predictions. This test of the predictions using new data will demonstrate science leadership and response ability of the LTRMP. The information could be used to in affirm or modify ongoing forest management strategies in the UMRS.


Field data will be collected in the Open River reach near Cape Girardeau, Missouri, Pool 26, and Pool 17. At each reach a total of 45 randomly selected sites will be selected. At each site, the vegetation will be stratified into canopy, understory, and ground layers and the species composition of each layer of vegetation will be determined. The results will be compared with the results of 1995 (Yin et al. 2000).

Principal investigators:

Dr. Patricia Heglund and Dr. Yao Yin

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