Title page for ETD etd-03132003-160705

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Burdt, Amanda Corrine
URN etd-03132003-160705
Title Hydric soil properties as influenced by land-use in Southeast Virginia wet flats
Degree Master of Science
Department Crop and Soil Environmental Sciences
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Galbraith, John M. Committee Chair
Aust, Wallace Michael Committee Member
Daniels, Walter Lee Committee Member
  • soil temperature
  • mitigation
  • air temperature
  • hydrology
  • growing season
  • wetlands
Date of Defense 2003-02-20
Availability unrestricted
The accuracy of the growing season used by regulators in hydric soil and wetland hydrology and the validity of ignoring land use in these definitions is questionable. This study compared measured air and soil temperature with various growing season dates and indicators, and determined the relationships between the hydrology, air and soil temperature. Water table depths, air temperature at 1-m height, soil temperature at 15-, 30-, and 50-cm depths, and CO2 efflux were measured at 12 plots representing three landuse treatments (forest, field, and bare ground) at two restored wet flats in the thermic Great Dismal Swamp ecosystem. The forest was driest treatment. The forest air was the warmest in winter and coldest in summer, opposite of the bare ground. The forest soil at 50 cm was the warmest in winter and coolest in summer, opposite of the bare ground. Land use affected hydrology, air, and soil temperatures through the presence of surface litter and differences in shading, albedo, and ET. The regulatory frost-free period fell in between the measured frost-free period and the measured 5 °C soil temperature period. Based on CO2 efflux and soil temperature at 50 cm, the biological growing season of native plants and microbes should be year-round for forested areas, one week shorter for early-successional fields, and two weeks shorter for active cropland rather than March to November for all land uses. Changing the growing season definition of forested, thermic wet flats to year-round designation must be considered and studied carefully to avoid jeopardizing wetland hydrology qualifications.

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