The Tallahatchie Experimental Forest


Little Tallahatchie River. Photo by NOAA National Weather Service.

The Tallahatchie Experimental Forest (Tallahatchie), located in the Holly Springs National Forest near Oxford, Mississippi, was created in 1950. Much of the experimental forest lies within the floodplain of the Little Tallahatchie River; upland parts of the forest include the headwaters of two watersheds, one draining into the Little Tallahatchie River, the other into the nearby Sardis Reservoir. The Tallahatchie is administered by the Southern Research Station Center for Bottomland Hardwoods team at Oxford.

In 1959, three small pine-hardwood watersheds were established about one-third mile east of the Tallahatchie, and have informally been considered part of the experimental forest since that time. Ten small watersheds and 10 nested, subwatersheds were installed in the early 1980s.

The Tallahatchie was established to study relationships among mixed pine and hardwood forests, flooding, and soil erosion. Research on the experimental forest and associated hydrological research supported the Yazoo-Little Tallahatchie Flood Prevention Project, a large Federal reforestation and soil stabilization effort conducted on the upper coastal plain of northern Mississippi from 1949 to 1985.

Research on the Tallahatchie has contributed significantly to improving forest management in several areas, providing information on the effects of timber harvest on runoff rates and sediment yields from basins with highly erodible soils, documenting the effects of cool season prescribed fire on plant and bird communities, and increasing the recognition that hot season fire in the Upper Coastal Plain may be critical for effective and efficient improvement of the condition, health, and diversity of area forests.

Excerpted from Experimental Forests and Ranges of the USDA Forest Service, 170-171.

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