Patterns of recruitment and young culm morphology in Arundinaria gigantea ([Walt.] Muhl.) canebrakes in western North Carolina

WCU Author/Contributor (non-WCU co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Keith Michael Hoffman (Creator)
Institution
Western Carolina University (WCU )
Web Site: http://www.wcu.edu/404.asp
Advisor
Laura DeWald

Abstract: River cane is one of three bamboos native to the United States. This species was once ubiquitous across the southeastern US but has now been reduced to less than two percent of its original coverage. This study is among research efforts to improve our knowledge to help restore a native species, protect riparian habitats, and improve materials needed for traditional Cherokee artisan crafts. The purpose of the project was to describe recruitment patterns within canebrakes, and to determine if these patterns were related to subsequent recruited culm morphology. Four canebrakes in western North Carolina were intensively sampled by establishing 1 m2 plots every 3 m2 across the entirety of each canebrake. All culms were counted within each plot and were categorized as young (recruited within 3 years) or old. Culm diameter, branch free height, and total height were measured for all young culms. Results showed young culms with larger diameters had greater branch free height and were taller, particularly after the first 3 m into a canebrake. This may be due to larger new rhizomes branching from older rhizomes, with the new rhizomes supporting new larger culms that can compete with pre7 existing culms for light. However, culm diameter, branch free height, and total height measures decreased in size in areas where there were greater than eight young culms/m2, likely due to resource allocation trade-offs where greater recruitment occurred at the expense of culm size. The density of old and young culms had a patchy distribution within the canebrakes. This variation could be explained by clonal integration, which allows river cane culms in areas of high resources to continue to spread and support culms in resource poor areas. My results suggest creating thinned “gaps” in the interior of existing canebrakes could lead to production of larger sized culms if competition for resources is reduced and the older rhizomes support larger new rhizomes and greater competitive regeneration. Additionally, if canebrakes are allowed to expand in area so that greater interior area is created, overtime larger culms should be produced due to continual competition within the canebrake.

Additional Information

Publication
Thesis
Language: English
Date: 2010
Keywords
Arundinaria gigantea, bamboo, culm morphology, density patterns, regeneration patterns, river cane
Subjects
Arundinaria -- Regeneration -- North Carolina, Western
Arundinaria -- North Carolina, Western -- Morphology