Publication Details

The ecological role of American elm (Ulmus americana L.) in floodplain forests of northeastern North America

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Marks, Christian O.

Year Published

2017

Publication

In: Pinchot, Cornelia C.; Knight, Kathleen S.; Haugen, Linda M.; Flower, Charles E.; Slavicek, James M., eds. Proceedings of the American elm restoration workshop 2016; 2016 October 25-27; Lewis Center, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-174. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 74-98.

Abstract

Before Dutch elm disease, the American elm (Ulmus americana L.) was a leading dominant tree species in the better drained parts of floodplain forests where flooding occurs about 1 percent of the time. Although still common in these habitats today, U. americana now rarely lives long enough to reach the forest canopy because elm mortality rates increase sharply with tree size. This article reviews the impact that the loss of American elm due to Dutch elm disease on floodplain forests, helps provide a clear rationale for restoring this iconic species in the wild, and also provides quantitative benchmarks against which to measure progress. Fraxinus L. species are ecologically the most similar species to U. americana, but Fraxinus trees are now also threatened because of the spread of the invasive emerald ash borer. This new threat to floodplain forests of northeastern North America adds urgency to the need to develop more disease tolerant selections of U. americana and plant them into floodplain habitats.

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Citation

Marks, Christian O. 2017. The ecological role of American elm (Ulmus americana L.) in floodplain forests of northeastern North America. In: Pinchot, Cornelia C.; Knight, Kathleen S.; Haugen, Linda M.; Flower, Charles E.; Slavicek, James M., eds. Proceedings of the American elm restoration workshop 2016; 2016 October 25-27; Lewis Center, OH. Gen. Tech. Rep. NRS-P-174. Newtown Square, PA: U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Northern Research Station: 74-98.

Last updated on: September 26, 2017