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Riparian forest

Brittany Mohrman, Tory Pavlovich, Brett Bohlander
Conservation Biology, BIO 345, Biology Department, DePauw University
Spring semester 2006

The purpose of this project was to describe soil characteristics and tree species composition in the riparian forest along Big Walnut Creek.  

We set up a transect of 18 points along Big Walnut Creek. The points were 50 meters apart and 15 meters from the creek.  At each point, we collected soil samples and measured phosphorus, nitrogen, pH, and moisture content. Within an 11.3 m radius of each point, we counted the number of trees by species and measured circumference of each tree. 

Results and Discussion
We identified three sectors along the transect: A, B, and C. Soil moisture levels were similar among the three sectors. pH was significantly lower in Sector C than the other sectors. Nutrient levels were low along the entire transect.  Tree species diversity was higher in Sectors B and C.  Box elder was the most abundant tree species.  Sycamore, eastern cottonwood, sugar maple, silver maple, and black walnut were also common. Our results are significant because they provide baseline data on the riparian forest and provide a foundation for the future.