A Hardwood Bottomland Forest is made up of Oak, Elm, Hickory, Maple, Hackberry, Cypress, and Sweetgum trees situated in organic peat soils usually deposited through rise and fall of rivers. The Mississippi River has deposited thousands of layers of organic soil creating the substrate for this Louisiana Hardwood Bottomland Forest. A bottomland is an area which floods on a regular basis and holds a percentage of that water, creating a saturated environment. This saturated environment is the limiting factor that affects the species capable of being present. Ecosystems of this nature are special for their diversity, tree density, foraging area for animals, and hurricane protection.
For over 40 years, Joe and Lucianne Carmichael and now A Studio in the Woods have stewarded these 7.66 acres of bottomland hardwood forest directly adjoining 900 acres of government owned forest. These woods were clear-cut in the 1700′s to make way for a sugar cane plantation, but since 1920 have lain fallow. If A Studio in the Woods’ present land stewardship continues, ecologists expect that this forest will regain its primary state within 100 to 200 years.
In 2004, 10x10 meter square research plots were installed for long term monitoring of the invasive species eradication project. Within the area of the plots all trees above 10 centimeters in diameter were mapped, measured for diameter, and damage described. These trees are surveyed annually for the above criteria, as well as any new trees that have reached two centimeters in diameter. Every two years an invasive species count is done within this area for the correlation to overall hardwood growth as it relates to Chinese Privet removal. 2014 will mark our tenth survey. If you are interested in learning more about David Baker’s research, please contact the office.
Environmental Curator David Baker has a BS in Botany from Louisiana State University and 20 years of experience in wetland ecology. He was the land manger for the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, and has 3 years in oil field consulting as a site restoration ecologist. He has been managing the forest at A Studio in the Woods for 10 years. His background in Tulane's Ecology and Evolutionary Biology department is long-term forest evaluation and mapping in hurricane-impacted environments. The monitoring of damage from Hurricanes Katrina, Rita, Gustav, and Isaac has given Baker the information needed to establish a paper evaluating potential damage from hurricanes based on species.
Click HERE to download a list of species known or expected in the vicinity of A Studio in the Woods. Prepared by Bob Thomas.
Click HERE for updates on our woods and environmental programming.