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Wetlands

, Volume 13, Issue 3, pp 176–184 | Cite as

Marsh restoration in the presence of intense herbivory: The role ofJusticia lanceolata (Chapm.) small

  • Daniel W. Llewellyn
  • Gary P. Shaffer
Article

Abstract

Research in southern Louisiana over the last decade indicates that large expanses of mudflats are being maintained in an unvegetated state primarily by the rodent nutria (Myocastor coypus). At present, there is a dearth of work on managing wetlands in the presence of intense herbivory. The present study was undertaken to elucidate the potential in wetlands restoration ofJusticia lanceolata, a wetland plant that is resistant to herbivory by nutria. Results from a previous study indicate thatJ. lanceolata is effective at trapping sediments. Furthermore, once it is established and islet elevations are built up,J. lanceolata is readily outcompeted by other species of wetland vegetation.

Results from this study indicate thatJ. lanceolata has several other properties that render it amenable for use in marsh restoration in the southeastern region of the USA: (1) thousands of propagules can be obtained from a singleJ. lanceolata islet without mortality to the adult plants; (2) it is resistant to herbivory, perhaps to the extent of being a herbivore repellent; (3) it is resilient with respect to saline storm surges, particularly if followed by a freshwater flushing event; (4) it is well-adapted to flooded conditions.

Key Words

Justicia lanceolata nutria Myocastor coypus herbivore-resistant Louisiana fresh marsh wetlands restoration 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel W. Llewellyn
    • 1
  • Gary P. Shaffer
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesSoutheastern Louisiana UniversityHammond

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