Revegetation of pothole prairie wetlands in the mid-continental US: twelve years post-reflooding

  • Published source details Mulhouse J.M. & Galatowitsch S.M. (2003) Revegetation of pothole prairie wetlands in the mid-continental US: twelve years post-reflooding. Plant Ecology (formerly Vegetatio 1948-1996), 169, 143-159.


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 replicated study in 1989–2000 of 41 restored prairie potholes (rewetted and planted with cover crops) in the Midwest USA (Mulhouse & Galatowitsch 2003) reported that they were colonized by plants, including wetland species, with increasing species richness and changes in plant community composition over time. Statistical significance was not assessed. After 1–3 years, all restored potholes contained ≤50 plant species and some contained <11. After 12 years, all potholes contained ≥11 plant species and the richest four potholes contained >90. Considering just wetland plants, the overall community composition became more similar amongst the 41 potholes over time (data reported as a similarity index). After 12 years, the most common emergent/wet meadow species included reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea (present in all 41 potholes), asters Aster spp. (36 potholes), water knotweed Polygonum amphibium (35 potholes) and pale spikesedge Eleocharis macrostachya (34 potholes). Methods: This study analyzed data from 41 prairie potholes that had been restored from farmland in 1988 and sampled through to 2000. Restoration involved rewetting by breaking/blocking drainage systems (resulting water levels varied from annual flooding to seasonal saturation), and planting cover crops in adjacent uplands. Note that the study evaluates the combined effect of rewetting and planting cover crops in some potholes. In summer 1989, 1991 and 2000, plant species and cover were recorded across the whole of each pothole (including upland buffer zone). This study used a subset of potholes from (4). Most of the potholes were also studied in (15).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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