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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service

Title: Streambank Restoration Using Willow: a Case Study of Site Specific Limitations to Success

Authors
item Schaff, S - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Pezeshki, S - UNIVERSITY OF MEMPHIS
item Shields Jr, Fletcher

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: December 15, 2000
Publication Date: April 8, 2001
Citation: SCHAFF, S.D., PEZESHKI, S.R., SHIELDS JR, F.D. STREAMBANK RESTORATION USING WILLOW: A CASE STUDY OF SITE SPECIFIC LIMITATIONS TO SUCCESS. Southern Biology. 2001. v.48(2). p. 288.

Technical Abstract: Channel straightening, changes in land use, and construction of reservoirs have resulted in accelerated channel erosion in northern Mississippi, resulting in downstream habitat destruction, sedimentation, and degradation of water quality. Restoration efforts are underway to rebuild eroded streambanks providing bank stability using natural vegetation rather than traditional engineering techniques. However, success has been limited, primarily due to poor survival. A two-year field study was conducted at Twentymile Creek, in northern Mississippi, investigating edaphic factors limiting the survival of black willow (Salix nigra) cuttings used for streambank restoration. Growth, biomass production, and physiological function (e.g. net photosynthesis and leaf chlorophyll content) were all significantly reduced in willow cuttings subjected to greater soil moisture deficits. However, soil texture emerged as the dominant factor determining willow post growth, health and survival. Coarse-grained soil (sands), even when subjected to reductions in soil moisture, were more conducive to post growth than were fine-grained soils (silt/clay). Our results strongly suggest that soil conditions can determine restoration success by affecting plant physiological function. Therefore, it is critical that consideration of site conditions, for example soil texture, is factored into the selection of candidate species to be used at individual restoration sites.

Last Modified: 10/25/2014
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