Thursday, December 03, 2009

Textbook example, II

So, if you've ever wondered what a dry mesic bottomland forest looks like in the Ozarks, here it is:




According to my esteemed colleague, the distinct characteristics are rather specific:

Main characters: losing stream; rapidly drained; soils dry to dry-mesic but subject to flash floods. Get this. Usually no discernable stream in many. Its hard to find good ones because of all the shitty pastures upstream-hence why there's a good quality DMBF along White's Creek as there's no development in that watershed and it directly enters the Eleven Point River.


And since there were so many questions about this, I've reposted Paul Nelson's answer to all of you here:
Ok Scott, Allison, Travis and Ted. I must succumb to answering all, with a disclaimer that we might never know the complete truth. Ted. The terms "forest" and "woodland" can have many different meanings depending on the context. But for my purposes, woodlands are specifically described as a certain type of natural community distinct from forest. Allison is right; I hope you have the book. Scott. Your observations of Wildhorse Creek west of Big Spring is right on. That is the country that typically loses most rainfall that filters and percolates through porous substrate through cracks and caves eventually emerging at Big Spring (and other springs). I could just as easily taken the photo there instead of Whites Creek in Irish or Big Barren Creek elsewhere on the Eleven Point Ranger District. You are also correct that to some degree of severity, nearly every stream and river in Missouri now contains sediment overburden, the cause which is post European settlement overgrazing, land clearing, poor silvicultural practices (sorry for the politics) and overburning followed by abandonment of now degraded and worn out woodlands. And I'm not familiar with Logan Creek. Oh, and Allison you know that most every "forest" at some time in history will burn, even if every 50 to 500 years, but the point is despite an occasional fire, their structure is multi-layered.

10 comments:

Paul Nelson said...

I must add that any typical ordinary one inch thunderstorm would just soak right through the quite porous floodplain alluvium. Its not till the watershed receives 5 or more inches (typical) that floodwaters rush through the valley but quickly recede (even in one day)or infiltrate the loosing stream. Oh, and its a "Forest" if it rarely burns, which Whites Creek is on the east side of the Eleven Point River and trapped deep in a valley while the same phenomenon, if it carries fire, would be a dry-mesic bottomland woodland.

Allison Vaughn said...

What that Paul Nelson guy says, listen to him...he knows everything.

Ted C. MacRae said...

Okay, I'm confused now. I thought forest was a type of woodland (all forests are woodlands, but not all woodlands are forests). Do I have it wrong?

I keep trying to see if I can figure out what kind of woodland I'm looking at, but I get all distracted looking at the bugs and other details. I think I'll forever be a better entomologist than ecologist - I truly can't see the forest for the trees!

travis mohrman said...

that picture sure makes it looks like that land would have the necessary party favors to enjoy a visit from my greek friend Hephaistos.

Scott Merritt said...

Not sure if this counts, but I was running around the Wildhorse Hollow area (west of Big Spring) one incredibly rainy June day, and everything was flowing like crazy in the morning. Flood conditions all around the area - major rain for multiple days. By afternoon those flattish, wide, shallow drainages had zero flow. I stood there thinking: "how the hell did that happen?". It wasn't sunny or anything....just stopped raining. I assumed it had at least a little to do with our past manipulation of the land (lots of gravel in the streambed, no slow percolation due to loss of grass, etc). Hmmmmm.....Also wondering, how does someplace like Logan Creek exist? Would it have been a big old bed of gravel 300 years ago? I mean - is what we see today "natural"?

Allison Vaughn said...

I'm going to let Paul answer you on that, Scott. Do I know where Logan Creek is? I'm sure he does...he knows every inch of the state. Good questions, though.

Allison Vaughn said...

Travis--check out the area below the spring glade at HHT next time you're there. It's a maple/white oak north slope, some sedges and forbs, little light, and it just doesn't burn. I tried, boy, I tried burning it last year--I threw fire all over it and it kept going out. Like this shot along the Eleven Point, it's just not supposed to burn.

Allison Vaughn said...

Ted, Forests and woodlands are different community types. Do you have Paul's book? Woodlands burn, but forests don't. Of course, there are lots of other issues at hand like canopy closure, ground flora, shrub layer density, but most of Missouri is historic woodland, though since most of the state is out of context with its historic condition, people look out there and call it forest. But they're really seeing degraded woodlands.

Allison Vaughn said...

Ted, Forests and woodlands are different community types. Do you have Paul's book? Woodlands burn, but forests don't. Of course, there are lots of other issues at hand like canopy closure, ground flora, shrub layer density, but most of Missouri is historic woodland, though since most of the state is out of context with its historic condition, people look out there and call it forest. But they're really seeing degraded woodlands.

Paul Nelson said...

Ok Scott, Allison, Travis and Ted. I must succumb to answering all, with a disclaimer that we might never know the complete truth. Ted. The terms "forest" and "woodland" can have many different meanings depending on the context. But for my purposes, woodlands are specifically described as a certain type of natural community distinct from forest. Allison is right; I hope you have the book. Scott. Your observations of Wildhorse Creek west of Big Spring is right on. That is the country that typically looses most rainfall that filters and percolates through porous substrate through cracks and caves eventually emerging at Big Spring (and other springs). I could just as easily taken the photo there instead of Whites Creek in Irish or Big Barren Creek elsewhere on the Eleven Point Ranger District. You are also correct that to some degree of severity, nearly every stream and river in Missouri now contains sediment overburden, the cause which is post European settlement overgrazing, land clearing, poor silvicultural practices (sorry for the politics) and overburning followed by abandonment of now degraded and worn out woodlands. And I'm not familiar with Logan Creek. Oh, and Allison you know that most every "forest" at some time in history will burn, even if every 50 to 500 years, but the point is despite an occasional fire, their structure is multi-layered.