Accelerating the Restoration of Vegetation in a Southern California Salt Marsh Article Received: 29 June 2004 Accepted: 29 July 2005 DOI:
Cite this article as: O’Brien, E.L. & Zedler, J.B. Wetlands Ecol Manage (2006) 14: 269. doi:10.1007/s11273-005-1480-8 Abstract
Re-establishing plant cover is essential for restoring ecosystem functions, but revegetation can be difficult in severe sites, such as salt marshes that experience hypersalinity and sedimentation. We tested three treatments (adding tidal creeks, planting seedlings in tight clusters, and rototilling kelp compost into the soil) in a site that was excavated to reinstate tidal flows and restore salt marsh. The magnitude of responses was the reverse of expectations, with tidal creeks having the least effect and kelp compost the most. On the marsh plain, kelp compost significantly increased soil organic matter (by 17% at 0–5 cm;
p = 0.026 and 11.5% at 5–20 cm; p = 0.083), total Kjeldahl nitrogen (45% at 5–8 cm; p < 0.001) and inorganic nitrogen (35% at 5–8 cm; p < 0.006), and decreased bulk density (16% at 0–5 cm; p < 0.001 and 21% at 5–8 cm depth; p < 0.001) compared to control plots. Survivorship of kelp compost treated plantings increased, along with growth (> 50% increase in a growth index at 20 months after planting; p < 0.0001). In Spartina foliosa plots, kelp compost did not affect soil organic matter, but plants were taller (by ~11 cm; p = 0.003) and denser (47% more stems; p = 0.003). Planting seedlings 10-cm apart in tight clusters on the marsh plain increased survivorship by 18% (compared to 90-cm apart in loose clusters; p = 0.053), but not growth. Tidal creek networks increased survivorship of Batis maritima and Jaumea carnosa by ≥20% ( p = 0.060 and 0.077, respectively). Kelp compost had a strong, positive influence on vegetation establishment by ameliorating some of the abiotic stress. Keywords Cluster planting Halophyte establishment Halophyte growth Soil amendment Spartina foliosa Tidal creek Wetland References
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