, Volume 23, Issue 3, pp 318–327

Marsh vegetation types of the Chenier Plain, Louisiana, USA


    • Coastal Ecology InstituteLouisiana State University
  • Charles E. Sasser
    • Coastal Ecology InstituteLouisiana State University
  • R. G. Linscombe
    • Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries
  • Robert H. Chabreck
    • School of Forestry, Wildlife, and FisheriesLouisiana State University Agricultural Center

DOI: 10.2307/1353324

Cite this article as:
Visser, J.M., Sasser, C.E., Linscombe, R.G. et al. Estuaries (2000) 23: 318. doi:10.2307/1353324


The Chenier Plain of Louisiana contains 3.085 km2 of coastal marshes and stretches from the Texas border to Vermilion Bay at approximately 91°30′W. The objective of this study was to describe the vegetation types of the Chenier Plain in 1997, compare the vegetation types of the Chenier Plain with those described previously for the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain, and compare the distribution and composition to previous descriptions of vegetation types in the region. Two-way Indictor Species Analysis (TWINSPAN) revealed seven major vegetation types that occurred in the region in 1997: fresh bulltongue, fresh maidencane, oligohaline bulwlwhip, oligohaline paspalum, oligohaline wiregrass, mesohaline wiregrass, and mesohaline mixture. These vegetation types are a logical expansion of the habitats previously described for the region. Five of the seven vegetation types were also identified by similar analyses and descriptions for the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. Vegetation in the fresh marsh substantially changed since it was first described by O’Neil in the 1940s. The largest change was the disappearance of the sawgrass habitat, although this change occurred before 1968. We show a continued trend in increase of oligohaline marsh at the expense of mesohaline wiregrass marsh, although it is not clear if this change is genuine or arises from the difference in classification methods among years. The mesohaline mixture, labeled saline marsh in previous studies, has remained relatively stable over time.

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© Estuarine Research Federation 2000