Uniform TitleA multi-scale approach to reconstructing landscape history in the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge, Morris County, New Jersey
NameMomsen, Jennifer L. (author), Hartman, Jean (chair), Southgate, Emily (co-chair), Morin, Peter (internal member), Hatfield, Colleen (outside member), Rutgers University, Graduate School - New Brunswick,
SubjectEcology and Evolution,
Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge (N.J.)
DescriptionAs the cultural value of 'wilderness' has grown, so has the need to understand the forces that create, modify and destroy landscapes. Processes acting separately and in concert drive landscape patterns, making it no simple task to unravel the forces driving current landscape composition and structure.
This thesis uses the space-time hierarchy to reconstruct the landscape history of the Great Swamp National Wildlife Refuge and to identify driving forces important to current landscape patterns. Pollen and sediment analysis coupled with historical documents were integrated to reconstruct vegetation history at two temporal scales. At the meso-temporal scale, post-glacial processes greatly influenced Great Swamp's abiotic template. Partial drainage of post-glacial lakes and subsequent erosion created a bifurcated landscape, where patterns of post-glacial deposits, soil and peat differed on a distinct east/west basis. Plant communities over this time period were dynamic, responding to local hydrological changes. As a result, a diverse wetland landscape developed across Great Swamp.
Meso-scale driving forces also influenced initial land-use patterns. Settlers in the 18th century extensively modified the western region of Great Swamp to create arable land. The eastern area, as a source for timber, initially escaped intense land-use. Agriculture eventually expanded eastward, but the land-use history of Great Swamp remained divided along the east/west bias created by post-glacial driving forces.
Land-use of this intensity frequently leaves legacies that persist decades or
centuries following abandonment; Great Swamp is no exception. Old ditches and abandoned fields continue to support unique vegetation assemblages. However, land-use legacies are also patterned on an east/west basis. The west, for example, continues to have greater coverage of agricultural-restricted communities while vegetation patterns in the east are more related to glacial patterning.
Integrating the results across temporal scales captures the complex realities of wetland development. In Great Swamp, driving forces have acted alone and together to produce current landscape patterns. Land-use legacies, while important, are coupled to landscape patterns generated by other driving forces. The space-time paradigm, as used here to reconstruct the vegetation history of Great Swamp, forced a long temporal perspective that revealed the interconnectedness and complexity of the forces driving landscape pattern.
NoteIncludes bibliographical references (p. 137-157).
CollectionGraduate School - New Brunswick Electronic Theses and Dissertations
Organization NameRutgers, The State University of New Jersey
RightsThe author owns the copyright to this work.