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Freshwater wetland restoration of an abandoned sand mine: Seed bank recruitment dynamics and plant colonization

Abstract

We examined plant recruitment from two soil seed banks used in the freshwater wetland restoration of an abandoned sand mine in South Brunswick, New Jersey. One seed bank was already present at the mine prior to restoration; the other was imported from a nearby wetland to be destroyed by road development. We also investigated the effects of pH and water regime on recruitment in a greenhouse study and assessed plant recruitment at the restoration site during the first growing season. Multivariate analysis of recruitment in greenhouse communities revealed differential responses of the two seed banks to pH and water regime treatments. In the wetland soil, species richness and plant density responded favorably to inundation and increased pH treatments. In the mine soil, species richness and density were greatest with non-inundated and unadjusted pH conditions. The imported seed bank was characterized by greater species richness (n=21) than the mine seed bank (n=14). Mean recruit density was also greater in the wetland soil (263.6 individuals/m2) than the mine soil (60.1 individuals/m2). Recruits unique to the imported wetland seed bank included a significant proportion of obligate wetland species (52.4%). More species were censused in the field study (82) compared to the greenhouse study (24), with 23.2% of species present in both studies. A lower proportion of obligate wetland species (24.0%) was present in the field. The imported wetland seed bank was the major contributor to species richness and plant density, indicating that the use of imported soils as an amendment may enhance success of wetland restoration projects.

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Vivian-Smith, G., Handel, S.N. Freshwater wetland restoration of an abandoned sand mine: Seed bank recruitment dynamics and plant colonization. Wetlands 16, 185–196 (1996). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03160692

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03160692

Key Words

  • seed banks
  • recruitment
  • colonization
  • wetland restoration
  • wetland creation
  • freshwater wetlands
  • New Jersey