Bottomland hardwood afforestation: State of the artThis article is part of a larger document. View the larger document here.
Over the past decade, land managers have implemented large-scale afforestation operations across the Southern United States to rehabilitate agricultural land historically converted from bottomland hardwood forest cover types. These afforestation efforts were initially concentrated on public land managed by State or Federal Government agencies, but have later shifted towards private holdings that qualified for governmental assistance or cost-share programs. Traditional silvicultural practices dominate bottomland hardwood afforestation schemes in the South, with 1-0 bare-root oak (Quercus spp.) seedlings comprising the balance of planting stock mixtures. However, traditional methods do not always yield successful afforestation, especially when applied on an operational scale across a landscape of heterogeneous site types and ownership objectives. This manuscript summarizes bottomland hardwood afforestation techniques and compares the knowledge base with current practices. Additionally, this manuscript reviews new silvicultural systems to enhance establishment success on adverse sites, to enhance ecological benefits of afforestation, and to address multiple objectives of landowners. We identify four vital components of afforestation that are generally lacking in most regeneration activities in the Lower Mississippi River Alluvial Valley.