Environmental gradients and plant distributions in Carolina bays
Burbage, Laura Elizabeth
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Carolina bays in the southeastern United States harbor a substantial number of rare plant species and are critical amphibian habitat. However, the majority of these wetlands are altered, and many have been considerably damaged. R ecent restoration efforts have necessitated the documentation of reference Carolina bays. In add ition, there is a need for concrete and detailed information about wetland plants so that restorations may be better planed. This study investigated four Carolina bays for use as reference systems in restoration projects. Variability of soil characteristics was examined and spatial and elevational gradients of % C, % N, % P, C:N, pH, % sand, % silt, % clay , and available soil water were documented. In addition, environmental va riables with relationships to plan t distributions were determined. Distribution limits of significant variables were estimated and compared to field distributions for graminoids, floating-leaved species, Panicum hemitomon and Nymphaea odorata.