Management of Bottomland Hardwood Forests in South Carolina for Wildlife Using Green Tree Reservoirs

Bottomland hardwood forests occupy the floodplains of many large and small rivers of the southeastern United States. These forests are productive systems and contain a variety of wildlife habitats. Many of these areas have been leveed and are flooded to make food, such as acorns and benthic organisms, available to waterfowl. The forested areas within the levees are called greentree reservoirs (GTRs). Flooding normally occurs during the winter dormant season and drainage when foliage begins to develop.

Waterfowl Biology and Management

South Carolina provides migratory and wintering habitat for about 18-20 different North American waterfowl species which can be commonly found in the state at some period during the year. Breeding habitat is also provided for resident wood duck and geese.

Wood Duck

Wood ducks depend upon forested wetland habitat for food and cover, although marshes are also used. Breeding range must have trees for nesting cavities and food near permanent freshwater lakes and streams. Brushy borders are important for nesting and brooding. Swampy areas with cypress and gum are premium for roosting. The best habitat contains mast-producing hardwoods that border streams and permanent fresh-water lakes. Many beaver ponds provide ideal wood duck habitat.

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