Defense Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



First Advisor

Edward Crawford


Tidal freshwater forest restoration after dam removal has been unexplored to date. This study elucidated pre-dam forest composition, as well as post-dam edaphic and microtopographical attributes and woody species recruiting along a narrow ecotone of a 29.3-ha tidal freshwater wetland. The ≈65-year-old historical forest (15 species, 200 stems ha-1) and ≈7-year-old contemporary forest (40 species and 11,009 stems ha-) community dominants were dissimilar (Fraxinus spp. vs. Liquidambar styraciflua, respectively). Pre-dam environmental conditions were unknown. Post-dam edaphic water content, organic matter, redox potential and microtopography differed significantly across tidal sites but were less variable in non-tidal sites. Shifts in the contemporary woody community composition and the concomitant increase in stem density and seedling:sapling ratios with elevation likely owed to significant changes in microtopography and edaphic attributes. Developing ecotones that contain variable microtopography may be extremely important for successful natural woody recruitment after dam removal from a tidal freshwater system.


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