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Water 2014, 6(9), 2614-2633; doi:10.3390/w6092614

Assessing the Effects of Periodic Flooding on the Population Structure and Recruitment Rates of Riparian Tree Forests

1
Environmental Science, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
2
Laboratoire de recherche en géomorphologie fluviale et sols, Université du Québec à Trois-Rivières, C.P. 500, Trois-Rivières, QC G9A 5H7, Canada
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 4 June 2014 / Revised: 12 August 2014 / Accepted: 14 August 2014 / Published: 27 August 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Wetlands and Sustainability)
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Abstract

Riparian forest stands are subjected to a variety of hydrological stresses as a result of annual fluctuations in water levels during the growing season. Spring floods create additional water-related stress as a result of a major inflow of water that floods riverside land. This exploratory study assesses the impacts of successive floods on tree dynamics and regeneration in an active sedimentation area, while determining the age of the stands using the recruitment rates, tree structure and tree rings based on dendrochronological analysis. Environmental data were also recorded for each vegetation quadrat. In total, 2633 tree stems were tallied throughout the quadrats (200 m2), and tree specimens were analyzed based on the various flood zones. A total of 720 specimens were counted (100 m2 strip) to measure natural regeneration. Higher recruitment rates are noted for the no-flood zones and lower rates in active floodplains. During the period of the establishment of tree species, the survival rates are comparable between the flood zones and the no-flood zones. Tree diameter distribution reveals a strong predominance of young trees in flooded areas. Different factors appear to come into play in the dynamics of riparian forest stands, including the disruptions associated with successive flooding. View Full-Text
Keywords: dendrochronology; flood zones; riparian trees; recruitment rates; tree stand structure dendrochronology; flood zones; riparian trees; recruitment rates; tree stand structure
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Berthelot, J.-S.; Saint-Laurent, D.; Gervais-Beaulac, V.; Savoie, D. Assessing the Effects of Periodic Flooding on the Population Structure and Recruitment Rates of Riparian Tree Forests. Water 2014, 6, 2614-2633.

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