Wetlands

, 31:853 | Cite as

The Wetland Disturbance Index: Links with Soil and Water Nitrate Concentrations

  • Michelle R. Cleveland
  • Erica A. H. Smithwick
  • Robert P. Brooks
  • Denice H. Wardrop
Article

Abstract

Human activities have increased deleterious nitrogen inputs to terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. The lessening of nitrogen inputs to streams can be achieved through the protection and restoration of riparian zones, including headwater wetlands. However, although headwater streams and their associated habitats account for the majority of the drainage area of rivers in Pennsylvania (U.S.A.), it is unknown how nitrogen cycling rates vary in headwater wetlands that differ in anthropogenic disturbance level. Thirteen forested headwater wetland sites within the Upper Juniata watershed, a major drainage basin of the Susquehanna-Chesapeake watershed, were selected based on a previously described, rapid assessment/disturbance index. The objective of this study was to determine whether relative soil nitrogen availability was correlated with a disturbance gradient created from the rapid assessment/disturbance index. Soil nitrogen at each site was collected with free ion exchange resin bags and analyzed for ammonium and nitrate. Results indicated that the disturbance index was predictive of relative soil nitrate availability (R2 = 0.69, p < 0.05). We conclude that the disturbance index is an effective, rapid assessment tool that could be used by managers to locate headwater wetlands with potentially high soil nitrate availability.

Keywords

Hydrogeomorphic class Ion-exchange resin Pennsylvania Susquehanna-Chesapeake watershed 

References

  1. Angier JT, McCarty GW (2008) Variations in base-flow nitrate flux in a first-order stream and riparian zone. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 44:367–380CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baker ME, Weller DE, Jordan TE (2007) Effects of stream map resolution on measures of riparian buffer distribution and nutrient retention potential. Landscape Ecology 22:973–992CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Barbercheck ME, Neher DA, Anas O, El-Allaf SM, Weicht TR (2008) Response of soil invertebrates to disturbance across three resource regions in North Carolina. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 152(1–4):283–298PubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Benedetti-Cecchi L (2005) The importance of the variance around the mean effect size of ecological processes: Reply. Ecology 86:265–268CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bernot MJ, Dodds WK (2005) Nitrogen retention, removal, and saturation in lotic ecosystems. Ecosystems 8:442–453CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Binkley D, Hart S (1989) The components of nitrogen availability assessments in forest soils. Advances in Soil Science 10:57–112Google Scholar
  7. Binkley D, Matson P (1983) Ion-exchange resin bag method for assessing forest soil-nitrogen availability. Soil Science Society of America Journal 47:1050–1052CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bobbink R, Hicks K, Galloway J, Spranger T, Alkemade R, Ashmore M, Bustamante M, Cinderby S, Davidson E, Dentener F, Emmett B, Erisman JW, Fenn M, Gilliam F, Nordin A, Pardo L, De Vries W (2010) Global assessment of nitrogen deposition effects on terrestrial plant diversity: a synthesis. Ecological Applications 20:30–59PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brinson MM (1993) A hydrogeomorphic classification for wetlands. East Carolina University, GreenvilleGoogle Scholar
  10. Brooks RP, Wardrop DH, Cole CA (2006) Inventorying and monitoring wetland condition and restoration potential on a watershed basis with examples from Spring Creek Watershed, Pennsylvania, USA. Environmental Management 38:673–687PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brooks R, McKenney-Easterling M, Brinson M, Rheinhardt R, Havens K, O'Brien D, Bishop J, Rubbo J, Armstrong B, Hite J (2008) A Stream-wetland-riparian (SWR) index for assessing condition of aquatic ecosystems in small watersheds along the Atlantic slope of the eastern US. Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 150(1–4):101–117PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Brooks RP, Brinson MM, Havens KJ, Hershner CS, Rheinhardt RD, Wardrop DH, Whigham DF, Jacobs AD, Rubbo JM (2011) Proposed hydrogeomorphic classification for wetlands and deepwater habitats of the Mid-Atlantic Region. Wetlands 31:207–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Bruland GL, Richardson CJ, Whalen SC (2006) Spatial variability of denitrification potential and related soil properties in created, restored, and paired natural wetlands. Wetlands 26:1042–1056CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Chapin CT, Bridgham SD, Pastor J (2004) pH and nutrient effects on above-ground net primary production in a Minnesota, USA bog and fen. Wetlands 24:186–201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cirmo CP, McDonnell JJ (1997) Linking the hydrologic and biogeochemical controls of nitrogen transport in near-stream zones of temperate-forested catchments: a review. Journal of Hydrology 199:88–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Cooper CM (1993) Biological effects of agriculturally derived surface water pollutants on aquatic Systems, a review. Journal of Environmental Quality 22:402CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Correll DL (2005) Principles of planning and establishment of buffer zones. Ecological Engineering 24:433–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Craig LS, Palmer MA, Richardson DC, Filoso S, Bernhardt ES, Bledsoe BP, Doyle MW, Groffman PM, Hassett BA, Kaushal SS (2008) Stream restoration strategies for reducing river nitrogen loads. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6:529–538CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. DiStefano JF, Gholz HL (1986) A proposed use of ion exchange resins to measure nitrogen mineralization and nitrification in intact soil cores. Communications in Soil Science and Plant Analysis 17:989–998CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dodds WK, Oakes RM (2008) Headwater influences on downstream water quality. Environmental Management 41:367–377PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Fraterrigo JM, Rusak JA (2008) Disturbance-driven changes in the variability of ecological patterns and processes. Ecology Letters 11:756–770PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Galloway JN, Cowling EB (2002) Reactive nitrogen and the world: 200 years of change. Ambio 31:64–71PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Giblin AE, Laundre JA, Nadelhoffer KJ, Shaver GR (1994) Measuring nutrient availability in arctic soils using ion-exchange resins: A field-test. Soil Science Society of America Journal 58:1154–1162CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Girardin MP, Ali AA, Carcaillet C, Mudelsee M, Drobyshev I, Hely C, Bergeron Y (2009) Heterogeneous response of circumboreal wildfire risk to climate change since the early 1900s. Global Change Biology 15:2751–2769CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Goldberg DE, Miller TE (1990) Effects of different resource additions of species diversity in an annual plant community. Ecology 71:213–225CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Groffman PM, Butterbach-Bahl K, Fulweiler RW, Gold AJ, Morse JL, Stander EK, Tague C, Tonitto C, Vidon P (2009) Challenges to incorporating spatially and temporally explicit phenomena (hotspots and hot moments) in denitrification models. Biogeochemistry 93:49–77CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Gunnarsson U, Rydin H (2000) Nitrogen fertilization reduces Sphagnum production in bog communities. The New Phytologist 147:527–537CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Haigh M, Krecek J (2006) Conclusion-Wetlands in Context. In: Environmental Role of Wetlands in Headwaters. NATO Science Series: IV: Earth and Environmental Sciences 63:313–338. doi:10.1007/1-4020-4228-0_28
  29. Haigh MJ, Singh RB, Krecek J (1998) Headwater control: matters arising. In: Headwaters: Water resources and soil conservation. Haigh MJ, Krecek J, Rajwar GS, Kilmartin MP, (Eds) A. A. Balkema, Roterdam, the Netherlands, pp 3–24Google Scholar
  30. Hanson GC, Groffman PM, Gold AJ (1994) Denitrification in riparian wetlands receiving high and low groundwater nitrate inputs. Journal of Environmental Quality 23:917CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Harms TK, Wentz EA, Grimm NB (2009) Spatial heterogeneity of denitrification in semi-arid floodplains. Ecosystems 12:129–143CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Hedin LO, Fischer JC, Ostrom NE, Kennedy BP, Brown MG, Robertson P (1998) Thermodynamic constraints on nitrogen transformations and other biogeochemical processes at soil-stream interfaces. Ecology 79:684–703Google Scholar
  33. Heiri O, Lotter AF, Lemcke G (2001) Loss on ignition as a method for estimating organic and carbonate content in sediments: Reproducibility and comparability of results. Journal of Paleolimnology 25:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Hough Z, Cole CA (2009) Above-ground decomposition dynamics in riparian depression and slope wetlands of central Pennsylvania. Aquatic Ecology 43:335–349Google Scholar
  35. Jenkins MC, Kemp WM (1984) The coupling of nitrification and denitrification in two estuarine sediments. Limnology and Oceanography 29:609–619CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Kercher SM, Zedler JB (2004) Multiple disturbances accelerate invasion of reed canary grass in a mesocosm study. Oecologia 138:455–464PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Kogelmann WJ, Sharpe WE (2006) Soil acidity and manganese in declining and nondeclining sugar maple stands in Pennsylvania. Journal of Environmental Quality 35:433–441PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Li JW, Richter DD, Mendoza A, Heine P (2010) Effects of land-use history on soil spatial heterogeneity of macro- and trace elements in the Southern Piedmont USA. Geoderma 156:60–73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Litton CM, Ryan MG, Knight DH (2004) Effects of tree density and stand age on carbon allocation patterns in post fire lodgepole pine. Ecological Applications 14:460–475CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Mahaney WM, Wardrop DH, Brooks RP (2004) Impacts of stressors on the emergence and growth of wetland plant species in Pennsylvania, USA. Wetlands 24:538–549CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. McCune B, Grace JB (2002) Analysis of ecological communities. MjM software design, Gleneden Beach, OregonGoogle Scholar
  42. McCune B, Mefford MJ (1999) PC-ORD multivariate analysis of ecological data version 4.0. MjM software, Gleneden Beach, Oregon, USAGoogle Scholar
  43. Naiman RJ, Latterell JJ (2005) Principles for linking fish habitat to fisheries management and conservation. Journal of Fish Biology 67:166–185CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Nelson DW, Sommers LE (1986) Total carbon, organic carbon, and organic matter. Methods of Soil Analysis 3:961–1010Google Scholar
  45. Nixon SW (1995) Coastal marine eutrophication: a definition, social causes, and future concerns. Ophelia 41:199–219Google Scholar
  46. NOAA (2008) Pennsylvania climatological data. Available from http://www4.ncdc.noaa.gov/cgi-win/wwcgi.dll?WWDI~StnSrch
  47. Peterjohn WT, Correll L (1984) Nutrient dynamics in an agricultural watershed: observations on the role of a riparian forest. Ecology 65:1466–1475Google Scholar
  48. Peterson BJ, Wollheim WM, Mulholland PJ, Webster JR, Meyer JL, Tank JL, Marti E, Bowden WB, Valett HM, Hershey AE, McDowell WH, Dodds WK, Hamilton SK, Gregory S, Morrall DD (2001) Control of nitrogen export from watersheds by headwater streams. Science 292:86–90PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Reddy KR, Patrick Jr WH, Lindau CW (1989) Nitrification-denitrification at the plant root-sediment interface in wetlands. Limnology and Oceanography:1004–1013Google Scholar
  50. Reiss KC (2006) Florida wetland condition index for depressional forested wetlands. Ecological Indicators 6:337–352CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Rockstrom J, Steffen W, Noone K, Persson A, Chapin FS, Lambin EF, Lenton TM, Scheffer M, Folke C, Schellnhuber HJ, Nykvist B, de Wit CA, Hughes T, van der Leeuw S, Rodhe H, Sorlin S, Snyder PK, Costanza R, Svedin U, Falkenmark M, Karlberg LR, Corell W, Fabry VJ, Hansen J, Walker B, Liverman D, Richardson K, Crutzen P, Foley JA (2009) A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461:472–475PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Royer TV, Tank JL, David MB (2004) Transport and fate of nitrate in headwater agricultural streams in Illinois. Journal of Environmental Quality 33:1296–1304PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Schaller J, Royer T, David M, Tank J (2004) Dentrification associated with plants and sediments in an agricultural stream. Journal of the North American Benthological Society 23:667–676CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Seitzinger S, Harrison JA, Bohlke JK, Bouwman AF, Lowrance R, Peterson B, Tobias C, Drecht G (2006) Denitrification across landscapes and waterscapes: a synthesis. Ecological Applications 16:2064–2090PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Smithwick EAH, Kashian DM, Ryan MG, Turner MG (2009) Long-term nitrogen storage and soil nitrogen availability in post-fire lodgepole pine ecosystems. Ecosystems 12:792–806CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Swift BL (1984) Status of riparian ecosystems in the United States. Water Resources Bulletin 20:223–228Google Scholar
  57. Tesoriero AJ, Liebscher H, Cox SE (2000) Mechanism and rate of denitrification in an agricultural watershed: Electron and mass balance along groundwater flow paths. Water Resources Research 36:1545–1559CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Thompson JA, Sharpe WE (2005) Soil fertility, white-tailed deer, and three Trillium species: A field study. Northeast Naturalist 12:379–390Google Scholar
  59. Townsend AR, Howarth RW, Bazzaz FA, Booth MS, Cleveland CC, Collinge SK, Dobson AP, Epstein PR, Holland EA, Keeney DR, Mallin MA, Rogers CA, Wayne P, Wolfe AH (2003) Human health effects of a changing global nitrogen cycle. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:240–246CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Vidon PG, Hill AR (2006) A landscape-based approach to estimate riparian hydrological and nitrate removal functions. Journal of the American Water Resources Association 42:1099–1112CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Vitousek PM, Aber JD, Howarth RW, Likens GE, Matson PA, Schindler DW, Schlesinger WH, Tilman DG (1997) Human alteration of the global nitrogen cycle: Sources and consequences. Ecological Applications 7:737–750Google Scholar
  62. Wardrop DH, Kentula ME, Stevens DL, Jensen SF, Brooks RP (2007) Assessment of wetland condition: An example from the Upper Juniata watershed in Pennsylvania, USA. Wetlands 27:416–431CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Weller DE, Jordan TE, Correll DL, Liu ZJ (2003) Effects of land-use change on nutrient discharges from the Patuxent River watershed. Estuaries and Coasts 26:244–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Wenger S (1999) A review of the scientific literature on riparian buffer width, extent and vegetation. Office of Public Service & Outreach, Institute of Ecology, University of Georgia 59 ppGoogle Scholar
  65. Yamashita N, Ohta S, Hardjono A (2008) Soil changes induced by Acacia mangium plantation establishment: Comparison with secondary forest and Imperata cylindrica grassland soils in South Sumatra, Indonesia. Forest Ecology and Management 254:362–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Zedler JB (2003) Wetlands at your service: reducing impacts of agriculture at the watershed scale. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 1:65–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michelle R. Cleveland
    • 3
    • 4
  • Erica A. H. Smithwick
    • 1
    • 2
  • Robert P. Brooks
    • 1
    • 2
  • Denice H. Wardrop
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Intercollege Graduate Program in EcologyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of GeographyThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  3. 3.Forest Resources BuildingThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  4. 4.School of Forest ResourcesThe Pennsylvania State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA

Personalised recommendations