Study

Invasibility drives restoration of a floodplain plant community

  • Published source details Toth L.A. (2015) Invasibility drives restoration of a floodplain plant community. River Research and Applications, 31, 1319-1327

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Raise water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Raise water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

    A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1998–2007 in Florida, USA (Toth 2015) reported that dechannelizing a river to rewet the floodplain increased variation in plant community composition between plots in the wet prairie zone, but reduced forage grass cover, overall vegetation cover and plant species richness. Results summarized for this study are not based on assessments of statistical significance. Variation in plant community composition amongst restoration plots (i.e. large-scale diversity) was relatively low before rewetting began (59–65% similarity). It was higher in the six years after rewetting was complete (17–49% similarity). This was linked to reduced dominance (cover) of forage grasses (before: 61–72%; after: 0–39%). There were also declines in total vegetation cover (before: 94–99%; after: 14–83%) and richness (before: 17–19; after: 5–26 species/100 m2). Note the increased variability after rewetting, reflecting differences between seasons and years. Meanwhile, the vegetation was relatively stable over time in another part of the floodplain that remained drained: 41–71% community similarity, 42–77% forage grass cover, 82–99% total vegetation cover, 18–25 species/100 m2. Methods: Between October 1999 and February 2001, Section C of the Kissimmee River floodplain was rewetted by dechannelizing the river. Twenty-four 100-m2 plots were established in the historical wet prairie zone (more recently used as upland pasture): 18 in the dechannelized section and six in an upstream section that remained channelized. Plant species and their cover were surveyed in spring and summer before intervention (1998–1999) and for roughly six years after (until 2007). This study used the same floodplain section(s) as (21) and (26), and shared wet prairie plots with (20) and (24).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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