Spatial differences in hydrologic and geochemical characteristics across a temperate coastal plain peatland: the great dismal swamp, USA

Gary Kenneth. Speiran, Frederic C. Wurster and Jack Eggleston

Proceedings of the 15th International Peat Congress


geochemistry, hydrology, nutrients, peatland, wetlands




Spatial differences in hydrologic and geochemical characteristics across forested peatlands can control the distribution of wetland species and affects their resiliency to natural and anthropogenic disturbances. Knowledge of these characteristics can be critical to (1) the effective management of the peatlands, (2) the selection of research sites to achieve specific research objectives, and (3) the interpretation of research results. The Great Dismal Swamp (the swamp) is a peatland that originally covered about 600,000 hectares (ha) in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of southeastern Virginia and northeastern North Carolina, USA (fig. 1). Draining the swamp for timber harvesting and agriculture has reduced the size of the swamp to the 45,325 ha managed by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (the Service) as a national wildlife refuge and 6,475 ha managed by the State of North Carolina as a park (U.S. Fish and…