Remove surface soil/sediment: freshwater swamps
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Surface soil/sediment – and any vegetation on it – could be removed to create a new bare surface for plants to colonize. This new surface may have fewer nutrients and pollutants, have no undesirable seed bank, and have a looser surface. Soil/sediment removal can also make a site wetter, by bringing the surface closer to the water table, increasing the frequency/duration of tidal flooding, or increasing the water depth in an already flooded site. This action may be particularly useful in naturally dynamic habitats that have been artificially stabilized, mimicking disturbances that would create bare soil/sediment.
Caution: Heavy machinery is usually needed for this action. Heavy vehicles can churn and compress wetland soils (Campbell et al. 2002). Stripping topsoil can have counter-intuitive effects, such as increasing ammonium concentrations because nitrifying bacteria, which break down ammonia, are removed with the soil (Dorland 2004). It may remove seeds of desirable species, and can be expensive.
Related actions: Raise water level to restore degraded swamps; Raise water level to restore/create swamps from other land uses; Reprofile/relandscape; Bury surface soil/sediment; Disturb soil/sediment surface without removing material; Transplant or replace wetland soil; Remove surface soil/sediment before planting.
Campbell D.A., Cole C.A. & Brooks R.P. (2002) A comparison of created and natural wetlands in Pennsylvania, USA. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 10, 41–49.
Dorland E. (2004) Ecological restoration of wet heaths and matgrass swards: bottlenecks and solutions. PhD Thesis, Utrecht University, The Netherlands.