Lewis Island    Jess
   Mar 09, 2002 18:31 PST 
     Lewis Island is a large (5000+ acre) island in the Altamaha River in
south Georgia. The island is approximately 20 miles inland and most of the
area is below five feet in elevation; consequently, water level on and
around the island is heavily influenced by the tides. Most of the land has
a swampy consistency and a sheet flow over the island may occur after heavy
rains. The island was logged prior to 1920 except for two areas totaling
40 to 50 acres. The two stands of old growth were purportedly left because
loggers could not access the stands; however, the two man-made canals
within sight of the stands renders this explanation implausible leaving the
stands' history a mystery.

     Water tupelo and baldcypress are by far the most common canopy species
on the island. Carolina ash is probably the most widespread
midstory/understory species on the island. Hazel alder was scattered
throughout the area and occasionally formed thickets along waterways.
Other species present in significant quantity include sweetgum, green ash,
swamp laurel oak, American hornbeam, swampbay, and buttonbush. Baldcypress
was often the tallest tree in a given area although sweetgum may be the
tallest tree on the island. We assume the proximity to the coast and soil
conditions combine to limit tree height. Large baldcypress occurred as
scattered remnant trees along waterways and in the interior of the island
in addition to those within the two uncut stands. 

     Swampbay was most common
along waterways and reached the greatest size on levees associated with the
canals. Baldcypress in the old growth areas commonly reach 12 to 15' cbh.
Circumferences of sweetgums were not measured, but the larger individuals
were around 10'. The tupelos were smaller than old growth individuals
commonly achieve in low areas within dry floodplains. The lack of
appreciable swells on either tupelos or baldcypress is probably
attributable to the fact that standing water on the island does not exceed
a few inches deep for extended periods of time.

     Volume estimates were made using trunk diameters found by using the
method developed by Colby Rucker. Tress were modeled as sets of conic
frustums except for one tree modeled as a paraboloid frustum. Big Buzzard
Creek forms the western boundary of the island.

Species             cbh      height    location        Volume
Red Buckeye       1'5"      31.3'     South Stand
Buttonbush         2'0"                 North, Levee
Swamp Dogwood    8"      25.8'     North Stand
Swamp Dogwood   12"     20.7'     North Stand
Swampbay          1'10"    50.4'     North, Levee
Swampbay           2'7"     53.4'     North, Levee
Swampbay           3'0"     49.5'     North, Levee
Baldcypress                  100.0'    North, Canal
Baldcypress         14'5"               North Stand
Baldcypress         14'8"               North Stand
Baldcypress         15'0"               North Stand
Baldcypress         15'3"   104.6'    South Stand
Baldcypress         15'7"               North Stand
Baldcypress         16'7"               North Stand
Baldcypress         16'8"               North Stand
Baldcypress         16'10"   ~86'    South Stand
Baldcypress         16'10"   ~90'    North Stand
Baldcypress         16'10"    ~98'   South Stand
Baldcypress         17'5"     ~95'    South Stand
Baldcypress         19'7"     ~87'    Isolated tree
Baldcypress         19'8"               South Stand
Baldcypress         20'0"     ~80'    Big Buzzard Creek  1300 cubic feet
Baldcypress         20'5"    104.8'   North Stand         1550 cubic feet
Baldcypress         21'5"    100.5'   South, Canal        1600 cubic feet
Baldcypress         25'4"     102.1'  Isolated               1600 cubic feet

     Many of the cypress have large, partially broken, flat topped crowns.
Some trees have had the entire trunk snapped. The 20'5" tree has a large,
intact crown. The spread may exceed 80'. One of the most impressive and
aesthetically pleasing trees we have seen.

Jess and Doug Riddle