Predictability of flood pulse driven assembly rules for restoration of a floodplain plant community

  • Published source details Toth L.A. & van d.V.A. (2012) Predictability of flood pulse driven assembly rules for restoration of a floodplain plant community. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 20, 59-75.


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 2012) reported that dechannelizing the river to rewet the floodplain reduced overall vegetation cover, forage grass cover and plant species richness in the wet prairie zone, but made the overall plant community more characteristic of wetland conditions. Statistical significance was not assessed. In the year before rewetting, restoration plots had 93–99% overall vegetation cover (forage grasses: 58–71%; typical wet-prairie species: 1–6%). There were 16–18 plant species/100 m2 (7–9 wetland-characteristic). Over six years after rewetting, overall vegetation cover fluctuated between 13% and 84% (forage grasses: 1–42%; typical wet-prairie species: 2–32%). There were 5–26 plant species/100 m2 (3–19 wetland-characteristic). The overall plant community became more characteristic of wetland conditions over time, reaching a similar level to nearby reference wet prairies around three years after rewetting, and becoming significantly more wetland-characteristic than plots that remained drained (data reported as a wetland indicator index). In the drained plots, vegetation cover and richness were relatively stable over time (see original paper for data). Methods: Between October 1999 and February 2001, Section C of the Kissimmee River floodplain was rewetted by dechannelizing the river. Twenty-one 100-m2 plots were established in the historical wet prairie zone of the floodplain: 15 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). Vegetation was also surveyed in two nearby, near-natural wet prairies (date not reported). This study used the same floodplain section(s) as (21) and (26), and used a subset of the plots in (22) and (24).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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