Thursday, February 10, 2011

Forests of the Lower Suwannee River Basin

USGS Map Showing Distinct Forest Patches Near the Mouth of the Suwannee River (the town of Suwannee with its canals is shown by the greenish patch at the upper left)
USGS scientists Helen Light, Melanie Darst, and their colleagues devoted years of study to describing and understanding the forests of the Lower Suwannee Basin. Co-sponsored by the Suwannee River Water Management District, these efforts resulted in a long series of technical reports, including the 2002 capstone Hydrology, Vegetation, and Soils of Riverine and Tidal Floodplain Forests of the Lower Suwannee River, Florida, and Potential Impacts of Flow Reductions, and an interactive map on compact disc. Both documents can be obtained from the USGS by following the above links. Maps were generated by analysis of detailed aerial imagery and ground-truthed by transects and plots.

This body of work can serve as an essential aid to anyone seeking to understand the physical environment and its role in the biology of the lower Suwannee. Far too detailed for the paddling guide, results of these studies will nevertheless help us to frame our presentation in ways that will convey the diversity and complexity of the system. 

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