Create mounds or hollows: freshwater swamps
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
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Background information and definitions
This action involves creating discrete mounds (e.g. by adding blocks of soil, bundles of sticks, other coarse woody debris) or hollows (e.g. by excavation) to provide suitable conditions for emergent wetland vegetation. The scale of this action falls somewhere between reprofiling/relandscaping (large-scale landscape features, tens of metres wide) and disturbing the soil/sediment surface (which may create small scale mounds or hollows, millimetres or a few centimetres wide/deep).
Often, this action aims to mimic the natural microtopography of swamps, which can be created by sediment accumulation, erosion, tree fall, root growth or animal activity (Vivian-Smith 1997, Bruland & Richardson 2005). Microtopography can increase plant diversity, because the different microclimates or microelevations may support different species (Vivian-Smith 1997). Depressions might provide sheltered and moist microclimates, in which the first colonizing plants can become established. Large woody debris will release nutrients as it decomposes.
Studies that simply compare vegetation on mounds vs hollows (e.g. Bruland & Richardson 2005) have not been summarized as evidence here, even if those mounds and hollows were deliberately created.
Related actions: Reprofile/relandscape larger areas; Disturb soil/sediment surface without creating discrete mounds and/or hollows; Create mounds or hollows before planting.
Bruland G.L. & Richardson C.J. (2005) Hydrologic, edaphic, and vegetative responses to microtopographic reestablishment in a restored wetland. Restoration Ecology, 13, 515–523.
Vivian-Smith G. (1997) Microtopographic heterogeneity and floristic diversity in experimental wetland communities. Journal of Ecology, 85, 71–82.
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This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:Marsh and Swamp Conservation
Marsh and Swamp Conservation - Published 2021
Marsh and Swamp Synopsis