Forty years of vegetation change on the Missouri River floodplain

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Comparative inventories in 1969 and 1970 and in 2008 of vegetation from 30 forest stands downstream of Garrison Dam on the Missouri River in central North Dakota showed (a) a sharp decline in Cottonwood regeneration; (b) a strong compositional shift toward dominance by green ash; and (c) large increases in invasive understory species, such as smooth brome, reed canary grass, and Canada thistle. These changes, and others discovered during remeasurement, have been caused by a complex of factors, some related to damming (altered hydrologic and sediment regimes, delta formation, and associated wet-dry cycles) and some not (diseases and expansion of invasive plants). Dominance of green ash, however, may be short lived, given the likelihood that the emerald ash borer will arrive in the Dakotas in 5-10 years, with potentially devastating effects. The prospects for recovery of this valuable ecosystem, rich in ecosystem goods and services and in American history, are daunting.
Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Forty years of vegetation change on the Missouri River floodplain
Series title BioScience
DOI 10.1525/bio.2012.62.2.6
Volume 62
Issue 2
Year Published 2012
Language English
Publisher American Institute of Biological Sciences
Publisher location Washington, D.C.
Contributing office(s) Fort Collins Science Center
Description 13 p.
Larger Work Type Article
Larger Work Subtype Journal Article
Larger Work Title BioScience
First page 123
Last page 135
Country United States
Other Geospatial Missouri River Floodplain
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