Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

The Southern Piedmont's Continued Land-Use Evolution, 1973-2011

Academic journal article Southeastern Geographer

The Southern Piedmont's Continued Land-Use Evolution, 1973-2011

Article excerpt

The southern Piedmont in the U.S. was an important farming region during the 19thcentury, but by the end of the 20th century, agricultural land use had decreased substantially with forest becoming the majority land cover by the 1970s. Geographical literature has documented this change but has not concentrated on the region's contemporary land uses. The Piedmont currently has three main types of land use and land cover changes: cyclic forestry, changes between forest and agriculture, and urbanization. The first and second groupings are reversible and land uses and land covers can change among them, but urbanization is normally a permanent change that increases in area through time. U.S. Geological Survey findings indicate that cyclic forestry of cutting (clearing) and regrowth dominated recent land change in the Piedmont. This paper explores the Piedmont's current land uses and some of their driving forces.

KEY WORDS: Piedmont, land use land cover change, cyclic forestry, urbanization

Se examinan la media, las maximas, las minimas y las curvas de duracion del caudal anual en la cuenca de drenaje rura l no reglamentada, del rio Santa Fe en el norte de Florida, 1932-2012. El riego en el area de estudio se ha mas que duplicado desde 1970, aumentando de 3.400 hectareas a cerca de 7.300 hectareas de tierra de regadio aproximadamente. Esto influyo en una disminucion del 22% en la minima y la media del caudal en la cuenca. Se realizan calculos de precipitacion anual se para determinar si los cambios de caudal son impulsados por los cambios climaticos o por fuentes regionales de variabilidad interanual. Varias pruebas estadisticas objetivamente detectan tendencias, roturas en la serie cronologica y cambios significativos en las caracteristicas hidroclimaticas. Los caudales bajos e intermedios exhiben marcados descensos tras las roturas y se reflejan en la doble masa y en las curvas de duracion del caudal anual, sin embargo, los cambios en la precipitacion son casi imperceptibles. La ausencia de reglamentacion del caudal aguas arriba y el mayor desarrollo urbano, asi como la fuerza de las senales en los caudales bajos e intermedios, sugieren que las observadas reducciones de caudal son el resultado resultan del aumento de bombeo de aguas subterraneas para el regadio a mediados de los 70.

PALABRAS CLAVE: Piamonte, uso de tierra, cambio de cubierta de suelo, silvicultura ciclica, urbanizacion

INTRODUCTION

Post-Native-American land use in the southern Piedmont has transformed the region's landscapes and environment. The mostly forested land cover was extensively cleared for agriculture during the 19th century, but row crop farming was ill adapted to the region's hilly topography and soil types, which resulted in extensive and severe erosion (Trimble 1974; Jefferson and McGee 2012; Hupp et al. 2013). This degradation of cultivated land, along with socioeconomic drivers that promoted manufacturing, led to a decline in agricultural land use and a return of trees over much of the Piedmont so that by the 1970s, forest had become the majority land cover (Napton et al. 2010). The new forests minimized erosion and helped heal the scars of previous farming (Jefferson and McGee 2012), but their species compositions were different from the pre-colonial forest, primarily because of the exclusion of fire (Cowell 1998). Increasing forest land cover has changed hydrologic flows from what had become typical during the widespread cropping era (Kim et al. 2013) and has resulted in greater sequestration of carbon as well (Hu and Wang 2008). Increased population and subsequent industrialization and urbanization have also significantly changed the region's lentic systems (Conroy et al. 2003), as well as downwind air quality and storm events (Santosa 2010; Shepherd et al. 2010). The Piedmont's returning 20th century forests, often led by naturally regenerating old field pine stands, have become fire-intolerant hardwood stands and commercial, monoculture pine plantations. …

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