Title

The Long-Term Effects of Hurricane Hugo on the Growth and Recovery of South Carolina's Coastal Temperate Forests

School Name

South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics

Grade Level

12th Grade

Presentation Topic

Botany

Presentation Type

Mentored

Abstract

In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the Southeast coast of the United States. This hurricane did a massive amount of damage to the forests of South Carolina. Since then scientists at the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology have monitored tree growth and death in four coastal temperate forests affected by the hurricane. Forest trees can be categorized as resilient, resistant, susceptible, or a usurper. These classifications summarize how a certain species will respond to a disturbance, but can also change depending on the makeup of the forest. The goal of the study is to find out if the forests returned to the state they were in pre-Hugo, and find how wind damage, water salinity of surge, and competition between trees affected recovery. While we were at Hobcaw Barony, we worked with numbers such as DBH (the diameter at breast height) and calculated graphs to determine trends in the vitality of the trees that made up each forest and each forest type. One invasive species, the Chinese Tallow, increased rapidly in number after the hurricane due to holes in the canopy from tree death. The Loblolly pine species also took over parts of the forests, quickly becoming a large part of the tree population where it hadn’t before the hurricane. This research is important because this data can be used to predict outcomes of future hurricanes and help scientists figure out a way to prevent major tree death.

Location

Founders Hall 111 B

Start Date

3-30-2019 11:30 AM

Presentation Format

Oral Only

Group Project

Yes

COinS
 
Mar 30th, 11:30 AM

The Long-Term Effects of Hurricane Hugo on the Growth and Recovery of South Carolina's Coastal Temperate Forests

Founders Hall 111 B

In September 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit the Southeast coast of the United States. This hurricane did a massive amount of damage to the forests of South Carolina. Since then scientists at the Baruch Institute of Coastal Ecology have monitored tree growth and death in four coastal temperate forests affected by the hurricane. Forest trees can be categorized as resilient, resistant, susceptible, or a usurper. These classifications summarize how a certain species will respond to a disturbance, but can also change depending on the makeup of the forest. The goal of the study is to find out if the forests returned to the state they were in pre-Hugo, and find how wind damage, water salinity of surge, and competition between trees affected recovery. While we were at Hobcaw Barony, we worked with numbers such as DBH (the diameter at breast height) and calculated graphs to determine trends in the vitality of the trees that made up each forest and each forest type. One invasive species, the Chinese Tallow, increased rapidly in number after the hurricane due to holes in the canopy from tree death. The Loblolly pine species also took over parts of the forests, quickly becoming a large part of the tree population where it hadn’t before the hurricane. This research is important because this data can be used to predict outcomes of future hurricanes and help scientists figure out a way to prevent major tree death.