Plant community establishment in a coastal marsh restored using sediment additions

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A goal of wetland restoration is the establishment of resilient plant communities that persist under a variety of environmental conditions. We investigated the role of intraspecific and interspecific variation on plant community establishment in a brackish marsh that had been restored by sediment addition. Plant growth, sediment accretion, and surface elevation change in planted, not-planted, and nearby reference sites (treatments) were compared. Four perennial macrophytes were planted: Bolboschoenus robustusDistichlis spicataPhragmites australis, and Schoenoplectus californicus. There was 100% survival of the planted species, and all exhibited rapid vegetative spread. Intraspecific variation in stem height and cover was identified, and interspecific comparisons also indicated differences in species cover. Treatment comparisons revealed that final total cover at not-planted sites was equivalent to that at reference sites, and was highest at planted sites where P. australis became dominant. Species richness was initially highest at the reference sites, but final richness was equivalent among treatments. Soil surface elevation was greater at planted compared to not-planted and reference sites. Because of the rapid cover and increased surface elevation generated by planted species, the resiliency of restored coastal marshes may be enhanced by plantings in areas where natural colonization is slow and subsidence is high.

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Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Plant community establishment in a coastal marsh restored using sediment additions
Series title Wetlands
DOI 10.1007/s13157-019-01217-z
Volume 40
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 16 p.
First page 877
Last page 892
Country United States
State Louisiana
Other Geospatial Barataria Basin, Bayou Dupont
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