Ecosystem development after mangrove wetland creation: plant–soil change across a 20-year chronosequence

  • Published source details Osland M.J., Spivak A.C., Nestlerode J.A., Lessmann J.M., Almario A.E., Heitmuller P.T., Russell M.J., Krauss K.W., Alvarez F., Dantin D.D., Harvey J.E., From A.S., Cormier N. & Stagg C.L. (2012) Ecosystem development after mangrove wetland creation: plant–soil change across a 20-year chronosequence. Ecosystems, 15, 848-866.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create brackish/saline marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Restore/create brackish/saline marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2010 of 18 intertidal wetlands on the coast of Florida, USA (Osland et al. 2012) reported that created wetlands were initially dominated by salt marsh vegetation but began to develop mangrove forest vegetation within 20 years. All data in this summary have been taken from statistical models. Young created wetlands (2–5 years old) were dominated by salt marsh vegetation, most of which was smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora (above-ground biomass: >270 g/m2; density: >200 stems/m2). The oldest studied created wetlands (19.5 years old) contained a mixture of juvenile (2 trees/m2; 85 cm tall) and adult (98 trees/m2; 4.2 cm diameter) mangrove trees, and no smooth cordgrass. Statistical models predicted that the abundance of smooth cordgrass became equivalent to nearby natural mangrove forests within 13 years. The diameter and density of adult mangrove trees would become equivalent to nearby natural mangrove forests after 25 and 55 years, respectively. Methods: In summer 2010, vegetation was surveyed in nine pairs of intertidal wetlands in Tampa Bay. In each pair, one wetland had been created from upland 2–20 years previously (precise creation methods not reported, but likely involved reprofiling to intertidal elevations and planting with salt marsh herbs) and one wetland was a natural, mature mangrove forest. Surveys were carried out in three 100-m2 plots/site (and subplots of various size within).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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