Outlook for Mississippi Alluvial Valley forests: a subregional report from the Southern Forest Futures Project
The Mississippi Alluvial Valley, which can be broadly subdivided into the Holocene Deposits section and the Deltaic Plain section, is a 24.9-million-acre area generally approximating the alluvial floodplain and delta of the lower Mississippi River. Its robust agricultural economy is maintained by a largely rural population, and recreational resources draw high visitation from nearby urban centers. The Mississippi Alluvial Valley forms a key corridor for migratory animals, and the Mississippi River has been developed as a vital conduit of commerce for much of North America. Although forest land use currently makes up only 28 percent of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, bottomland hardwood forests and coastal swamps remain invaluable for producing forest products, sustaining biodiversity, providing recreational opportunities, and performing essential ecosystem services. Forecasts generated by the Southern Forest Futures Project provide science-based projections of how alternative futures of economic growth, population growth, climatic patterns, and a range of forest threats could drive potential trajectories of land use, forest conditions, water resources, recreational resources, and wildlife habitats across the Southern Region. This report identifies findings from the Southern Forest Futures Project that are relevant to the Mississippi Alluvial Valley, expands on the relevant findings through additional science synthesis and analysis, and outlines noteworthy implications of the alternative futures to forest-based resources and ecosystem services of the Mississippi Alluvial Valley.