Richardson, C.J. 1991. Pocosins: an ecological perspective. Wetlands 11:335-354.

Abstract: Pocosins and associated wetlands (PAAWS) of the North Carolina Plain are among the least studied ecosystems in the U.S. The purpose of this overview is to (1) classify pocosins and give their geographical location, (2) provide information on their geological origin and give an ecological analysis of these ecosystems, and (3) analyze development trends. Recent surveys have shown that pocosins occur on the southeastern coastal plain from Virginia to north Florida and once covered more than one million hectares in North Carolina. A broad definition of pocosins (sensu lato) would include all shrub and forested bogs, as well as Atlantic white cedar stands and some loblolly pine stands on flooded soils on the Coastal Plain. A stricter definition (sensu stricto) of pocosin for delineation purposes would only include the classic shrub-scrub (short pocosin) and pond-pine-dominated tall pocosin. Common synonyms for pocosin including bay, bayland, bayhead, xeric shrub bog, and evergreen shrub bog, further confuse what is and is not classified as a pocosin. The advanced identification and delineation of pocosins from upland and other associated wetland types will require detailed field analyses following the stricter definition of pocosins. Over 51% of the forested palustrine wetlands in North Carolina have been disturbed, and approximately 33% of pocosins have been destroyed. The 1991 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service data follow the general trends for pocosin loss reported by Richardson in 1981. The high rate of wetland modification, especially for pocosin-type palustrine wetlands, suggests that stricter wetland laws are needed if we are to follow the concept of "no net loss of wetlands."

Key Words: Palustrine, bays, swamp, development trends, geology, soils

Reproduced by permission

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