Aboveground primary productivity for cypress forests was assessed from measurements of litter production in two age groups and in two hydrological regimes (standing water and free-flowing). Caddo Lake, located in northeast Texas on the Texas-Louisiana border, offered a unique study site since it is dominated by extensive stands composed entirely of Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich, (baldcypress) in different age groups. Young stands (approximately 100 years old) are found along the shoreline and on shallow flooded islands. Old stands (-150 to 300 years old) are found in deeper water where they were continuously flooded. Litter production over three years from October 1998 to September 2001 was measured. Litter consisting of leaves, twigs, bark, reproductive parts, and Tillandsia usneoides (L.) L. (Spanish moss) was collected monthly using 0.5 m2 floating traps. Tree diameters were measured within 200 m2 circular plots in each stand. The young stands supported densities greater than 2,000 stems/ha and a mean stand basal area of 72.3 m2/ha, whereas old stands supported lower densities of about 500 stems/ha but with a similar mean stand basal area of 73.3 m2/ha. There was a significant difference between old and young stands for overall yearly litter production, averaging about 670 g/m2/yr in the young stands and 460 g/m2/yr in the old stands. Leaves and twigs were significantly greater in the young stands, while reproductive parts were higher in old stands. Litter collections between years or hydrological regimes were not significantly different.
Additional publication details
A comparison of litter production in young and old baldcypress (Taxodium distichum L.) stands at Caddo Lake, Texas