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Monday, April 9 • 10:30am - 10:45am
SYMPOSIA-05: Natural Succession and Riparian Forest Recovery Following a Major Flood on the Blanco River, Texas

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AUTHORS: Aspen Manning, Texas State University

ABSTRACT: On the night of May 23, 2015, a record flood occurred on the Blanco River in central Texas. The flood scoured away much of the riparian buffer along the river. Following a disturbance as severe as the 2015 flood, riparian ecosystems typically transition from bare ground to full-canopy forest. The transition follows one or more trajectories that result in the succession in dominance of fast-growing, full sun-tolerant species to a diverse forest of shade-tolerant, slower-growing trees. This study aims to answer the question: What are the patterns of natural regeneration present in the early stages of recovery following the 2015 flood? Trees were sampled in five public parks along the Blanco River in Hays County, Texas. Possible succession trajectories were determined by the presence of vegetation propagules (seed sources or extant plants), and local geomorphic variables such as proximity to the channel, soil type and depth, and flow characteristics. This research can inform land management and conservation decisions by revealing long-term changes in riparian community make-up and by identifying possible invasions by exotics and other potential problems.

Monday April 9, 2018 10:30am - 10:45am CDT
Water Tower Parlor