Effects of sediment removal on vegetation communities in Rainwater Basin playa wetlands

  • Published source details Beas B.J., Smith L.M., LaGrange T.G. & Stutheit R. (2013) Effects of sediment removal on vegetation communities in Rainwater Basin playa wetlands. Journal of Environmental Management, 128, 371-379.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reprofile/relandscape: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Reprofile/relandscape: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2008–2009 involving 12 reprofiled ephemeral freshwater marshes (playas) in Nebraska, USA (Beas et al. 2013) found that reprofiled marshes typically had similar plant species richness to natural marshes after 1–11 years and greater species richness than degraded marshes, but reported different plant communities under each treatment. In two of two years, reprofiled marshes contained a similar number of plant species (overall: 43–49; native: 36–38 species/marsh) to natural marshes (overall: 38–40; native: 31 species/marsh). Reprofiled marshes contained significantly more plant species than degraded marshes (overall: 24–26; native: 18–19 species/marsh). However, reprofiled marshes were developing a plant community distinct from, rather than intermediate between, natural and degraded marshes (data reported as graphical analyses; statistical significance of differences not assessed). For example, reprofiled marshes contained mostly mudflat annual plants, rather than the wet prairie and perennial species present in natural marshes. Methods: In summer 2008 and 2009, vegetation was surveyed in 34 playa wetlands: 11–12 reprofiled (by removing excess upland sediment to create a graded basin; surrounded by crops or grassland), 11–12 degraded (with excess upland sediment; surrounded by and/or planted with crops) and 11–12 natural (unaffected by sediment; surrounded by grassland). Each June, July and August, plant species and their cover were recorded at 400 points across two transects/marsh. This study largely used the same marshes as (12).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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