Landscape dependence of hydrologic patterns in Lower Coastal Plain depression wetlands

  • Authors: De Steven, Diane; Harrison., Charles A.
  • Publication Year: 2006
  • Publication Series: Abstract
  • Source: Hydrology and Management of Forested Wetlands: Proceedings of the International Conference. Publ. No. 701P0406, Amer. Soc. of Agric. and Biol. Engineers, St. Joseph, MI

Abstract

In the forested landscapes of the United States Atlantic Coastal Plain, depression wetlands contribute significantly to vegetation diversity and provide critical habitat for sensitive wetland animals such as pond-breeding amphibians. Duration and depth of water ponding are major determinants of depression vegetation and habitat suitability for wetland fauna. Therefore, understanding what properties regulate depression hydrology can provide a more informed basis for management. Within the Francis Marion National Forest on the South Carolina Lower Coastal Plain, we used a stratified study approach to characterize depression hydrologic patterns across physical landscape settings defined by soils and geomorphology. Nineteen wetlands were monitored biweekly for changes in pond stage over a two-year period spanning both wet and dry years. Depression hydrology was driven by variation in rainfall, as water levels changed similarly in response to climate seasonality and extreme rain events. However, individual wetlands did not exhibit a common hydroperiod pattern; rather, annual ponding ranged from semi-permanent to temporary. Inherent differences among wetlands were more apparent in the dry year and were partly predictable from depression landscape setting, soil type, and size. On loam and clay flats with fine-textured soils, wetlands had either seasonal or semi-permanent ponding, and hydroperiod was correlated with wetland size (area). On sandy ridges with coarse-textured soils, depression hydroperiods ranged from semi-permanent to temporary; the variation was not strictly a function of wetland size but was possibly related to interactions with basin morphology, topographic position, or local groundwater inputs. Plant community diversity and impacts of upland fire management were correlated with these landscape-dependent hydrologic patterns. Soil landscape settings may provide a useful framework for integrating upland and wetland management, and for predicting how depression hydrologic diversity may respond to future climate change.

  • Citation: De Steven D. and C.A. Harrison. 2006. Landscape dependence of hydrologic patterns in Lower Coastal Plain depression wetlands.  In : J. Nettles and T. Williams (eds.). Hydrology and Management of Forested Wetlands: Proceedings of the International Conference. Publ. No. 701P0406, Amer. Soc. of Agric. and Biol. Engineers, St. Joseph, MI. p. 486
  • Keywords: depression wetland hydrology, Carolina bay hydrology
  • Posted Date: May 22, 2020
  • Modified Date: May 27, 2020
  • Print Publications Are No Longer Available

    In an ongoing effort to be fiscally responsible, the Southern Research Station (SRS) will no longer produce and distribute hard copies of our publications. Many SRS publications are available at cost via the Government Printing Office (GPO). Electronic versions of publications may be downloaded, printed, and distributed.

    Publication Notes

    • This article was written and prepared by U.S. Government employees on official time, and is therefore in the public domain.
    • Our online publications are scanned and captured using Adobe Acrobat. During the capture process some typographical errors may occur. Please contact the SRS webmaster if you notice any errors which make this publication unusable.
    • To view this article, download the latest version of Adobe Acrobat Reader.