Factors influencing cattail abundance in the northern Everglades

Aquatic Botany
By: , and 



Since the early 1900s, the Everglades have been influenced by anthropogenic actions including altered hydrology and increased nutrient loading. In the northern Everglades an apparent effect of these disturbances has been the development and proliferation of dense cattail (Typha spp. ) stands in areas previously dominated by sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense Crantz) and sloughs. Cattail cover, soil nutrient concentrations, topography and fire history were determined for the Holey Land and Rotenberger Wildlife Management Areas, located in the northern Everglades. These data were analyzed using multiple regression to assess the relative influence of fire, hydrology and soil nutrients on cattail abundance. Holey Land and Rotenberger were overdrained over recent decades which resulted in soil compaction and nutrient accumulation, illustrated by increased soil bulk densities and elevated nutrient storage. Average bulk densities were 0.13 g cm−3 for Holey Land and 0.22 g cm−3 for Rotenberger. Average total P (TP) stored in the surface 10 cm of soil in Holey Land and Rotenberger were 7 and 13 g m−2, respectively. In contrast, Everglades soils uninfluenced by nutrient enrichment and with less severe overdrainage have bulk densities of 0.07 g cm−3 and TP storage of 4 g m−2. Typically, elevated soil P concentrations have been considered a primary factor influencing cattail growth and distribution in the Everglades. With the apparent absence of P limitation in Holey Land and Rotenberger, cattail abundance was influenced by either fire or hydrology. Forty-six percent of the variation of cattail cover in Holey Land was explained by elevation, indicating that increased water depth and duration of flooding have a significant impact on cattail expansion. In Rotenberger, fire was the most influential factor, explaining 57% of the variation in cattail cover. Hydrology was the second most important factor limiting cattail abundance.

Study Area

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Factors influencing cattail abundance in the northern Everglades
Series title Aquatic Botany
DOI 10.1016/S0304-3770(97)00089-2
Volume 60
Issue 3
Year Published 1998
Language English
Publisher Elsevier
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center, Wetland and Aquatic Research Center
Description 16 p.
First page 265
Last page 280
Country United States
State Florida
Other Geospatial Holey Land Wildlife Management Area, Northern Everglades, Rotenberger Wildlife Management Area
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