2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)
Paper No. 22-12
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM

RESTORING RIVER CANE ARUNDINARIA GIGANTEA TO THE LANDSCAPE IN WESTERN NORTH CAROLINA: AN ENVIRONMENTAL AND CULTURAL RESTORATION

MCDOWELL, Katie L., Dept. of Geosciences, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, KM34091@wcu.edu, GRIFFITH, Adam, Dept. of Biology, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723, and YOUNG, Robert S., Dept. of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, Western Carolina University, Cullowhee, NC 28723

River cane (Arundinaria gigantea) is the only bamboo native to the U.S. and was once abundant in the southeastern states, growing on the floodplains of low energy rivers and streams. This woody grass has had its habitat fragmented by development and agriculture since European settlement. Along with the loss of an important riverine ecosystem, the destruction of river cane “brakes” has been a significant cultural loss for the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI). Today, there is little cane left and much is not the proper size for artisanal uses. In response to this loss, a River Cane Restoration Project has been initiated in partnership with the EBCI that will explore the biophysical controls on the modern distribution of A. gigantea and develop science-based criteria for the restoration of river cane to southeastern floodplains. Restoring cane brakes to the landscape would return native access to a resource that is important for the revitalization of Cherokee crafts as well as for re-establishing a diminishing and significant native species to the area. Many Native American Tribes have turned to environmental restoration as a means of restoring cultural and spiritual heritage, as well as habitat. Methods: Currently, the project is in a preliminary phase involving a detailed, GIS-based inventory of cane brakes in Western North Carolina. This involves locating and mapping existing river cane patches and collecting baseline data including: maximum height of the cane, culm diameter, culm density, soil characteristics, elevation, areal extenet and associated species. A GeoXM Trimble GPS was used to make a polygon of the site by taking coordinates at each major turn in the canebrake. A typical site has culms 3-5 m tall with an average diameter of 1.5 cm and includes common species such as Black Walnut (Juglans nigra), Sycamore (Planatus occidentalis), and Jewelweed (Impatiens capensis). While A. gigantea is often listed as a facultative wetland species, none of the inventoried brakes are found on histosols. Thus far, 45 sites have been inventoried. Data gathered will be used to identify the ideal modern conditions producing the highest-quality river cane for use by Cherokee artisans. From these data, the biophysical parameters for target restoration sites will also be elucidated and restoration projects initiated.

2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 22--Booth# 12
Geomorphology (Posters)
Pennsylvania Convention Center: Exhibit Hall C
8:00 AM-12:00 PM, Sunday, 22 October 2006

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 38, No. 7, p. 61

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