Loop 2: Station 5
Hardwoods of the bottoms
The Riverine Forests of LCNP provide a home for a diversity of life and perform many ecological functions. These forests grow in low areas that are flooded several days each year when rainfall causes streams to overflow their banks, spilling into their floodplains.
A variety of hardwood trees adapted for life in wet soils and tolerant of periodic flooding thrive here. These bottomland species grow rapidly here due to fertile soils and abundant moisture, even during drought.
Dominant forest species include green ash, black willow, box elder, maples, and sycamore. Dense ground cover of herbs, ferns, smartweed, grasses, sedges, and shrubs provide shelter and food for a wide variety of fauna. This diverse community supports animal life ranging in size from almost microscopic invertebrates to large mammals like white-tail deer.
Do trees grow faster in the bottoms than they do in the uplands?
With fertility enriched by occasional flooding, and abundant moisture, bottomland soils are very productive. For example a floodplain site can produce a green ash 90 feet tall over 50 years, compared to a 70-foot tree on the best upland soils.
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