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Impacts of settlement on floodplain vegetation at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers


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Government Land Office (GLO) survey records were used to reconstruct the presettlement floodplain landscape at the confluence of the Illinois and Mississippi rivers. Presettlement prairie and forest land covers were determined by digitizing GLO plat maps using a computerized geographic information system (GIS). A case history of land cover change was determined by comparing this presettlement map to GIS land cover maps for 1903, 1935, and 1975. Data from witness trees and current forest samples were used to compare presettlement and present forest composition and structure. Results indicate that approximately 56% of the presettlement floodplain was forested, while 41% was prairie. The presettlement forests were generally open (86.8 [...]



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  • Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC)



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Reprinted by the National Biological Service, Environmental Management Technical Center, Onalaska, Wisconsin

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