Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

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Jess Riddle
Posts: 440
Joined: Sun Mar 14, 2010 10:59 am

Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Post by Jess Riddle » Fri Dec 26, 2014 4:21 pm

Nts,

I need to thank Larry Tucei for making me aware of the forests at Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge. His posts about the big trees there put Noxubee on the map for me, so when I saw Noxubee literally on the map next to my route for the Holidays, I had to stop and check the area out.

http://nativetreesociety.org/fieldtrips ... refuge.htm
http://ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=1856
http://ents-bbs.org/viewtopic.php?f=95&t=6015

From Larry’s reports, I knew the forest would be impressive, but I didn’t realize just how impressive. The site reminds me of nowhere as much as a younger version of Congaree National Park. Towering sweetgum dominate the overstory at both, and swamp chestnut oak and cherrybark oak, two of the most impressive species at Congaree, are also common. In particular, swamp chestnut oak is unusually abundant, well represented in both the overstory and understory, and probably the second most common overstory species. Noxubee even mimics Congaree in the scattered groves of loblolly pine. The abundance of hornbeam in the understory also lends familiarity, but paw paw, which competes with hornbeam as the most common tree in Congaree, remains surprisingly shrubby and a minor understory component at Noxubee. Those compositional similarities would not evoke the feel of Congaree if the sites did not share the same cathedral architecture. Though clearly second growth, heights already approach Congaree, and large diameter trees appear with regularity. These similarities in composition and productivity likely reflect a similar pattern of frequent, short duration flooding, and perhaps similar soils.

The Noxubee River arises only about a dozen miles away in the hills and ravines of Tombigbee National Forest. The smaller stream size and younger forest lead to some compositional differences. Sugarberry, a dominant late successional species in bottomlands and often the most abundant species in the understory, is nearly absent from Noxubee. Some species tolerant of extended flooding, like laurel oak and water hickory, were entirely absent from the section I saw. Conversely, other species tolerant of only short duration flooding, such as tuliptree and water oak, are locally abundant.

I walked about a mile of the Wilderness Trail before veering off to check out a handful of the highest LiDAR hits. The canopy often reached over 120’, except in areas where a tornado left hornbeams as the dominant species.
Noxubee_measurements.JPG
Noxubee_measurements.JPG (40.93 KiB) Viewed 382 times
All of these trees are state height records (at least discounting some back-logged trip reports). The sweetleaf and swamp chestnut oak may be the most significant since they are within six feet of the all-time height record. The swamp chestnut oaks are well-formed and seem likely to top 140’ before long. Combined with Larry’s measurements, Noxubee should now have the highest Rucker Index in Mississippi.
8’11” cbh x 125.2’ tall red maple
8’11” cbh x 125.2’ tall red maple
The tallest tree found so far at Noxubee NWR, a 10’8” x 148.2’ tall sweetgum
The tallest tree found so far at Noxubee NWR, a 10’8” x 148.2’ tall sweetgum
Jess Riddle
12/22/14

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Larry Tucei
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Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Post by Larry Tucei » Sat Dec 27, 2014 11:18 am

Jess- Wow!! Thanks for helping bring NWNR on the radar. I always knew the trees there were tall just not how tall, 145+ amazing!! Thanks to you and Lidar Noxubee gets the recognition it long deserves. We should contact the area Manager and make him aware of just how special of a place it really is. Not with just the fantastic wildlife found within but the great trees that have grown back in less than one hundred years. Thanks again Jess. Larry

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dbhguru
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Joined: Mon Mar 08, 2010 9:34 pm

Re: Noxubee National Wildlife Refuge

Post by dbhguru » Sat Dec 27, 2014 4:38 pm

Jess,

Ditto what Larry said. It looks like Mississippi is on the rise as a place with great potential. Larry has a huge area to cover. Glad you could give him a hand. I agree with Larry, the local manager needs to be informed.

Bob
Robert T. Leverett
Co-founder, Native Native Tree Society
Co-founder and President
Friends of Mohawk Trail State Forest
Co-founder, National Cadre

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