, 23:1015 | Cite as

Plant colonization after complete and partial removal of disturbed soils for wetland restoration of former agricultural fields in Everglades National Park

  • George H. Dalrymple
  • Robert F. Doren
  • Nancy K. O'Hare
  • Michael R. Norland
  • T. V. Armentano


The Hole-in-the-Donut is a 4000-ha region of former farmlands within Everglades National Park that is dominated by a monoculture of the non-indigenous pest plantSchinus terebinthifolius (Brazilian pepper). Prior to extensive farming in the region, the area consisted of short hydroperiod graminoid wetlands and mesic pine savannah. Rock plowing in preparation of these lands for farming created an artificial soil layer that broke up the limestone substrate, mixed and aerated the native marl soil layer with the broken limestone, and elevated the surface slightly. Farming practices also included the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. The modified soil substrate quickly became dominated byS. terebinthifolius when farming ceased in 1975, despite efforts to control its establishment, such as prescribed fire, herbicide treatment, and mowing. Preliminary evidence indicated that soil removal would prevent re-invasion byS. terebinthifolius and could lead to colonization by native wetlands plants. Two trials, a partial soil removal (PSR) and a compete soil removal (CSR), were performed on a pilot test site beginning in 1989 to determine whether all or only a portion of this modified soil substrate needed to be removed to attain desired results. Removal of rock-plowed surface material lowered elevation in both treatments. While the PSR treatment did show an increase in the number and coverage of hydrophytes for a few years, it did not prohibit re-colonization and re-establishment of a canopy ofS. terebinthifolius, and by 1996, the site was again dominated by a monoculture ofS. terebinthifolius. By contrast, the CSR treatment showed rapid colonization by hydrophytes and no successful re-colonization byS. terebinthifolius. Lowering elevations by 15 to 45 cm allowed for longer periods of flooding and rapid colonization by hydrophytes on both sites. After the sites were cleared, the average difference in elevation between the two treatment areas was less than a tenth of a meter, but this resulted in a slightly shorter hydroperiod on the PSR site. The small amount of residual rock-plowed soil with high levels of nutrients, along with its slightly shorter hydroperiod on the PSR site, appear to have contributed significantly to the success ofS. terebinthifolius in re-colonizing this treatment area.

Key words

wetlands restoration agricultural fields soil removal Everglades National Park exotic plants Schinus terebinthifolius Brazilian pepper 

Literature Cited

  1. Armentano, T. V., R. F. Doren, W. J. Platt, and T. Mullins. 1995. Effects of Hurricane Andrew on coastal and interior forests of southern Florida: overview and synthesis. Journal of Coastal Research 21:111–144.Google Scholar
  2. Bazzaz, F. A. 1996. Plants in Changing Environments. Gambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  3. Briske, D. D. and J. D. Derner. 1998. Clonal biology of caespitose grasses. p. 106–135.In G. P. Cheplick (ed.) Population Biology of Grasses. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.Google Scholar
  4. Colinvaux, P. 1986. Ecology. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  5. Correll, D. S. and H. B. Correll. 1982. Flora of the Bahama Archipelago. Lubrecht Cramer Limited, Port Jervis, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  6. Dalrymple, N. K., G. H. Dalrymple, and K. A. Fanning. 1993. On the vegetation of restored and unrestored rock-plowed wetlands of the East Everglades of southern Florida. Restoration Ecology 1:220–225.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Derner, J. D., D. D. Briske, and T. W. Boutton. 1997. Does grazing mediate soil carbon and nitrogen accumulation beneath C4 perennial grasses along an environmental gradient? Plant and Soil 191: 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Doren, R. F. and L. D. Whiteaker. 1988. Proposal for mitigation and monitoring of secondary successional communities in ENP: Hole-in-the-Donut. Everglades National Park. Homestead, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  9. Doren, R. F. and L. D. Whiteaker 1990a. Comparison of economic feasibility of chemical control strategies on differing age and density classes ofSchinus terebinthifolius. Natural Areas Journal 10: 28–34.Google Scholar
  10. Doren, R. F. and L. D. Whiteaker. 1990b. Effects of fire on different size individuals ofSchinus terebinthifolius. Natural Areas Journal 10:106–113.Google Scholar
  11. Doren, R. F., L. D. Whiteaker, G. Molnar, and D. Sylvia. 1990. Restoration of former wetlands within the Hole-in-the-Donut in ENP. p. 33–50.In F. J. Webb, Jr. (ed.) Proceedings of the Seventh Annual Conference on Wetland Restorations and Creation. Hillsborough Community College, Plant City, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  12. Ewel, J. J. 1986. Invasibility: lessons from south Florida. p. 214–230.In A. H. Mooney and J. J. Drake (eds.) Ecology of Biological Invasions of North America and Hawaii. Springer Verlag, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  13. Ewel, J. J., D. S. Ojima, D. A. Karl, and W. F. Debusk. 1982.Schinus in successional ecosystems of Everglades National Park. South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL, USA. Technical Report T-676.Google Scholar
  14. Gauch, H. G., Jr. 1982. Multivariate Analysis in Community Ecology. Cambridge University Press, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  15. Godfrey, R. K. and J. W. Wooten. 1981. Aquatic and Wetland Plants of Southeastern United States: Dicotyledons. University of Georgia Press, Athens, GA, USA.Google Scholar
  16. Gross, K. L. 1987. Mechanisms of colonization and species persistence in plant communities. p. 173–188.In W. R. Jordan, M. E. Gilpin, and J. D. Aber (eds.) Restoration Ecology: a Synthetic Approach to Ecological Research. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, U K.Google Scholar
  17. Kent, M. and P. Coker. 1994. Vegetational Description and Analysis. Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  18. Krauss, P. 1987. Old field succession in Everglades National Park. South Florida Research Center Report, Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL, USA. Technical Report SFRC-87/03.Google Scholar
  19. Li, Y. and M. Norland. 2001. The role of soil fertility in invasion of Brazilian pepper (Schinus terebinthifolius) in Everglades National Park, Florida. Soil Science 166:400–405.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Long, W. L. and O. Lakela. 1971. A Flora of Tropical Florida. University of Miami Press, Coral Gables, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  21. Loope, L. L. and V. L. Dunevitz. 1981. Investigations of early plant succession on abandoned farmland in Everglades National Park. South Florida Research Center, Everglades National Park, Homestead, FL, USA. Fechnical Report T-644.Google Scholar
  22. MacArthur, R. M. and E. O. Wilson. 1967. The Theory of Island Biogeography. Princeton University Press. Princeton, NJ, USA.Google Scholar
  23. Mueller-Dombois, D. and H. Ellenberg. 1974. Aims and Methods of Vegetation Ecology. John Wiley and Sons, Inc, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  24. Olmsted, I. and L. L. Loope. 1984. Plant communities in Everglades National Park. p. 167–184.In P. J. Gleason (ed.) Environments of South Florida Present and Past II. Miami Geological Society, Miami, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  25. Orth, P. G. 1981. Fertility management of Dade County soils. Soil Crop Science Society Florida Proceedings 40:1–3.Google Scholar
  26. Orth, P. G. and R. A. Conover. 1975. Changes in nutrients resulting from farming the Hole-in-the-Donut, Everglades National Park. Proceedings of Florida State Horticultural Society 28:221–225.Google Scholar
  27. Pielou, E. C. 1984. The Interpretation of Ecological Data. John Wiley and Sons, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  28. Reed, P. B., Jr. 1988. National List of Plant Species That Occur in Wetlands: Southeast Region (Region 2). National Wetlands Inventory, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, DC, USA. Biological Report 88(26.2).Google Scholar
  29. Sokal, R. R. and F. J. Rohlf. 1995. Biometry. W. H. Freeman, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  30. StatSoft. 1994. Statistica for Windows. StatSoft, Inc. Tulsa, OK. USA.Google Scholar
  31. Steward, K. K. and W. H. Ornes. 1975. The autecology of sawgrass in the Florida Everglades. Ecology 56:162–171.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Tilman, D. 1988. Plant Strategies and the Dynamics and Structure of Plant Communities. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, USA.Google Scholar
  33. Whittaker, R. H. 1975. Communities and Ecosystems, second edition. MacMillan, New York, NY, USA.Google Scholar
  34. Wunderlin, R. P. 1998. Guide to the Vascular Plants of Florida. University Press of Florida, Gainesville, FL, USA.Google Scholar
  35. Zar, J. H. 1996. Biostatistical Analysis, third edition. Prentice-Hall, Englewood Cliffs, NJ, USA.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • George H. Dalrymple
    • 1
  • Robert F. Doren
    • 2
  • Nancy K. O'Hare
    • 1
  • Michael R. Norland
    • 3
  • T. V. Armentano
    • 3
  1. 1.Everglades Research Group, Inc.HomesteadUSA
  2. 2.National Park Service, Southeast Environmental Research ProgramFlorida International UniversityMiamiUSA
  3. 3.South Florida Natural Resources CenterHomesteadUSA

Personalised recommendations