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Distribution and growth of sycamores next to the Quarry Pond

Zachary Young, Sarah Minor, and Hunter Schouweiler

Sycamore trees are frequently found in riparian and wetland areas, and are moderately tolerant of flooding.  Our hypotheses were:

  1. Flooding will have a negative effect on health of sycamore trees
  2. Sycamore trees growing in the Quarry Bottom flood zone will have the lowest average health score due to frequency of anoxic conditions
  3. Sycamore trees on medium or large rock piles in the Quarry Bottom will have higher average health scores due to higher nutrient availability in soil accumulations
We measured sycamore trees in three areas.  We measured tree height, location of tree (in, near, or far from flood zone), type of soil (mud, rock pile, or base of rock pile), and health of tree.
 
"In the flood zone" was defined as areas that were at one point completely surrounded by water.  We looked for biofilm, depressed, and dried-out mud areas as evidence of past flooding.
 
"Near the flood zone" was defined as areas within 3 to 4 meters of the floodplain or an elevated area, such as a rock pile, where some but not all sides of the elevated area were touching an area that had been flooded.
 
"Far from flood zone" was defined as areas more than 3 to 4 meters from a floodplain, with no sign of past flooding.
 
We measured health of the tree using these criteria
  • 0 = no foliage, tree is dried or withered, trunk is deformed, no flaking bark
  • 1 = low or minimal foliage, trunk is deformed, no flaking bark
  • 2 = about half of tree has leaves, trunk is not deformed, little to no flaking bark
  • 3 = about three-quarters of tree has leaves, leaves are good quality, trunk is healthy with flaking bark
  • 4 = near full foliage, leaves are good quality, trunk is healthy with flaking bark
Our results showed that trees near the flood zone had the highest health scores.  Trees in the flood zone had the lowest health scores.  Trees on rock piles, regardless of location, had the highest health scores.  
 
Click here for our powerpoint presentation:  quarry-bottom-sycamores.pptx