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U.S. Department of Agriculture


Vast acreages of baldcypress [Taxodium distichum (L.) Rich.] swampland in coastal South Carolina were cleared for rice production starting in the late 1600s. When rice cultivation ended in the late 1800s, many cultivated areas became
marshlands. Other fields failed to return to forest unless they were planted. In one such area, nine acres were planted with baldcypress in 1956 by MeadWestvaco near Walterboro, SC. Seedlings were planted on an 8- by 8-foot spacing. Beginning in November 1991, five 0.12-acre plots were established within the stand to monitor tree growth and survival and measured yearly. In addition to baldcypress, the stand now contains red maple (Acer rubrum L.), black willow (Salix nigra Marsh.), sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua L.), and persimmon (Diospyros virginiana L.). The number of trees per acre declined from 600 to 402 by year 2000. Average diameter of trees after 44 years was 9.1 inches. In 2001, MeadWestvaco clearcut half of the stand, thinned 1/4 of the stand, and left 1/4 intact. All stems were removed from the clearcut section, and the thinned section was reduced to 104 stems per acre (88 percent of remaining trees are baldcypress). Five regeneration plots were placed in the clearcut area to follow future regeneration patterns.


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