An Interim Old-Growth Definition for Cypress-Tupelo Communities in the Southeast
Forested wetlands [cypress-tupelo (Taxodium spp.-llryssa spp.)] as well as some bottomland hardwood forests, are of increasing interest in the South. They are important in water management, wildlife conservation, habitat diversity, and high quality timber (Ewe1 and Odom 1984). The acreage of such forests in the region has declined dramatically; for example, at the time of European colonization, Louisiana had an estimated 11 to 12 million acres [4.4 to 4.8 million hectares (ha)] of forested wetlands. At that time, wetlands were considered useful only after they had been drained. The Swamp Land Acts of 1849-50 granted Federally owned swamp lands to the States to be reclaimed and disposed of, and, by 1974, only about 49 percent of the original acreage remained (Turner and Craig 1980).