Date of Award
Bachelor of Science (BS)
College of Science
James O. Luken
The former rice fields of Georgetown County, SC, are currently in many different states. Water levels in some are still actively managed for various purposes. To the majority of landowners, attraction of wintering waterfowl is the primary purpose of management. In these areas, water levels are manipulated throughout the year in order to grow favorable duck foods. This includes a summer drawdown, a fall burning and flooding, and a cyclic change in water levels throughout the rest of the growing season. Establishment of cypress trees is also a concern in the former rice fields. Many of the old plantations were cypress forests prior to clearing them to produce the rice. After clearing, the land was greatly altered by the building of dike systems and by the constant raising and lowering of water levels. The disturbances make it difficult for the plants to establish, and so regeneration of trees is not easy. Cypress seeds have very specific germination requirements. Limitations of the seeds involve changes in microtopography, seed dispersal, flooding effects, salt-water intrusion, germination requirements, and competition effects. Future management of the land is complex. Establishment of tree cover takes a long time, if it occurs at all. Thus, alternative management strategies should be explored.
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Schulte, Kristen Nicole, "Conservation Issues in Abandoned Rice Fields of Georgetown County, South Carolina" (2002). Honors Theses. 288.