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Fact Sheet: Forested Wetlands

Forested wetlands in the south produce much of the timber in the country as well as support many animals and plants. These wetlands are made up of nuttall oak, willow oak, tupelo, water oak, and green ash and also include bald cypress swamps. Unfortunately two thirds of the annual losses of wetlands in the continental United States occurs in forested wetlands, principally in the southern region.

Through the Southern Forested Wetlands Initiative, USGS Biological Resources Division is researching forested wetlands and providing scientific informationfor the management of southern forested wetlands. Researchers are studying thefunctions and values of these wetlands as well as methods to restore and managethem.

This initiative may be one of the best examples available of an active,on-the-ground research partnerships among federal agencies (USGS Biological Resources Division, U.S. Forest Service, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers).

Researchers have identified specific research sites in several states in cooperation with relevant state agencies and private industrial landowners and timber companies, such as Union Camp, Westvaco Corp., International Paper Co.,James River Co., and several others.

NWRC is able to assess and monitor these systems because of proximity to the study areas, a multidisciplinary staff chosen for their expertise in the system,and established partnerships with others who study the areas.

Because of our expertise, we were asked by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department to provide a technical evaluation of the status and health of the bald cypress forest at Caddo Lake, designated a Ramsar wetland in 1993.

Most of the research and technology development performed for this study are done at the Lafayette headquarters within all the branches of NWRC and at the project office in Nacogdoches, TX.

Specific projects on forested wetlands are:

  • Studying forested wetland functions and values for protection and restoration activities
  • Examining longleaf pine/wiregrass forest communities functions and values
  • Focusing on management understanding for improving the biological diversityof managed forest ecosystems
  • Studying the management of species at risk
  • Mangrove community decline in Everglades National Park
  • Caddo Lake ecology and management
  • Developing technological tools to assist in the assessment and preservationof the ecosystem and transferring that technology to appropriate audiences
  • Providing resources and professional support for researchers and users of biological information; ensuring that the information is provided in the mostusable format for a variety of audiences

For more information, contact:
National Wetlands Research Center
700 Cajundome Blvd.
Lafayette, LA 70506
337 266-8500

January 1997

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