Hydrological aspects of cypress wetlands in coastal-region pine forests and impacts of management practices

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Annual Proceedings Soil and Crop Science Society of Florida


Hydrology for cypress pond/flatwood pine (CPFP) systems located in coastal regions of the southeastern USA is a primary driving force influencing ecology, land development, and persistence of CPFP systems. Water budget analysis provides a means to quantify water entering, undergoing storage in, and leaving such systems. Precipitation, evapotranspiration, ground water, surface water and water storage in the vadose zone represent the main components of CPFP water budgets. Precipitation is considered the main water inflow component, and ET is the major pathway of water consumption, with ground and surface waters being dynamically connected. Alternative silviculture management practices such as establishing unharvested buffer zones, and partial harvesting, should be tested in flatwood pine forests. However, field experiments involving these alternative scenarios are costly and time-consuming. Mathematical models can be used to lessen the number of required field experiments and to investigate important parameters and variables that most influence this system. A need exists for multi-dimensional mathematical models to describe water flow and solute transport for transient flow in a variably saturated media, such as the model WETLANDS. These models can be used to simulate the dynamic connection between free water in ponds and subsurface water in surrounding flatwood forests. The models should include temporal and spatial plant uptake of both water and solutes. This paper gives an overview of the hydrology of CPFP systems, along with current and alternative management practices utilized for these environments. This type of information is helpful for field hydrologists, mathematical modelers working on such systems, and regulatory agencies dealing with these environments.

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