, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 99–105 | Cite as

A comparison of hydric soils, wetlands, and land Use in coastal North Carolina

  • Kevin K. Moorhead
  • Allen E. Cook


The objective of this study was to compare hydric soils, wetlands, and land-use patterns for two counties in coastal North Carolina with a Geographic Information System. Soils were digitized from Soil Conservation Service county soil surveys, wetlands from National Wetland Inventory (NWI) maps, and land-use patterns from an environmental atlas of the coastal zone of North Carolina. The soils were consolidated into hydric mineral, hydric organic, and nonhydric soils for analysis. The areas of hydric soils were compared with wetlands or with land use to provide information on the relative distribution of wetland communities by soil type and conversions of wetlands into non-wetland areas by land use. Approximately 50 percent (87,650 ha) of the pre-settlement wetlands have been drained and converted to other uses. The conversions were more pronounced on hydric mineral soils. Conversions of wetlands for agricultural purposes accounted for 63 percent of wetland losses while conversions to pine plantations accounted for an additional 17 percent. Fifteen percent of the existing wetlands were in a state of transition to other land uses. This landscape-level approach complements detailed field studies that examine soil and plant relationships at individual field sites.

Key Words

GIS hydric soils land use National Wetlands Inventory soil survey wetland losses 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Literature cited

  1. Adams, D. E., M. A. Buford, and D. M. Dumond. 1987. In search of the wetland boundary. Wetlands 7: 59–70.Google Scholar
  2. Anderson, J. R., E. E. Hardy, J. T. Roach, and R. E. Witner. 1976. A land use and land cover classification system for use with remote sensor data. U.S. Geological Survey Paper 964. U.S. Geological Survey, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen, N. L., R. B. Wilbur, and J. S. McLean. 1988. Soil-vegetation correlations in the pocosins of Croatan National Forest, North Carolina, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA. Biological Report 88(28)Google Scholar
  4. Cowardin, L. M., V. Carter, F. C. Golet, and E. T. LaRoe. 1979. Classification of wetlands and deepwater habitats of the United States. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Washington, DC, USA. FWS/OBS-79/31.Google Scholar
  5. Dahl, T. E. 1990. Wetland losses in the United States 1780’s to 1980’s. U.S. Department of the Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Daniel, C. C. 1978. Land use, land cover, and drainage on the Albemarle-Pamlico peninsula, eastern North Carolina, 1974, Water Resources Investigations 78–134. U. S. Geological Survey, Raleigh, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  7. Daniels, R. B., H. J. Kleiss, S. W. Buol, H. J. Byrd, and J. A. Phillips. 1984. Soil Systems of North Carolina. North Carolina Agricultural Research Service Bulletin 467. North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  8. Erickson, N. E. and D. M. Leslie, Jr. 1988. Soil-vegetation correlations in coastal Mississippi wetlands. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA. Biological Report 89(3).Google Scholar
  9. Fraver, W. E., T. J. Monahan, D. C. Bowden, and F. A. Graybill. 1983. Status and trends of wetlands and deepwater habitats in the conterminous United States. 1950s to 1970s. Department of Forest and Wood Sciences, Colorado State University. Ft. Collins, CO, USA.Google Scholar
  10. Lukin, C. G. and L. L. Mauger. 1983. Environmental geological atlas of the coastal zone of North Carolina: Dare, Hyde, Tyrrell, and Washington Counties. CEIP Report No. 32. North Carolina Coastal Energy Impact Program. NC Department of Health. Environment, and Natural Resources, Raleigh, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  11. Moorhead, K. K. 1990. Diversity of hydric soils in North Carolina, USA. Environmental Management 14:241–247.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Moorhead, K. K. 1991. Evaluating wetland losses with hydric soils. Wetlands Ecology and Management 1:123–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Reed, P. B., Jr. 1988. National list of plant species that occur in wetlands: 1988 national summary. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA. Biological Report 88(24).Google Scholar
  14. Scott, M. L., W. L. Slauson, C. A. Segelquist, and G. T. Auble. 1989. Correspondence between vegetation and soils in wetlands and nearby uplands. Wetlands 9:41–59.Google Scholar
  15. Segal, D. S., P. J. Latham, and G. R. Best. 1987. Delineating a wetland boundary using vegetation, soil and hydrelogic characteristics: A Florida cypress dome example. Wetlands 7:51–58.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Soil Conservation Service. 1975. Soil Taxonomy. A Basic System of Soil Classification for Making and Interpreting Soil Surveys. Agriculture Handbook No. 436. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  17. Soil Conservation Service. 1987. Hydric soils of the United States. In cooperation with the National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  18. Tant, P. T., E. L. Coates, J. H. Ware, M. K. Kimbro, J. P. Wulforst, J. R. Hansard, and S. Barnes. 1981. Soil survey of Washington County, North Carolina. U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  19. Tant, P. T., J. A. Gagnon, Jr., E. Coates, R. H. Ranson, Jr., W. A. Hayes, Jr., and S. Barnes. 1988. Soil survey of Tyrrell County, North Carolina. U.S. Soil Conservation Service, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  20. Tiner, R. W., Jr. 1984. Wetlands of the United States: Current status and recent trends. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wetlands Inventory. Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar
  21. Tiner, R. W., Jr. 1985. Wetlands of New Jersey. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Wetlands Inventory, Washington, DC, USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetlands Scientists 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kevin K. Moorhead
    • 1
  • Allen E. Cook
    • 1
  1. 1.Savannah River Ecology Laboratory Drawer EAiken

Personalised recommendations