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Wetlands

, Volume 28, Issue 4, pp 1086–1096 | Cite as

Effects of landscape gradients on wetland vegetation communities: Information for large-scale restoration

  • Christa L. ZweigEmail author
  • Wiley M. Kitchens
Article

Abstract

Projects of the scope of the restoration of the Florida Everglades require substantial information regarding ecological mechanisms, and these are often poorly understood. We provide critical base knowledge for Everglades restoration by characterizing the existing vegetation communities of an Everglades remnant, describing how present and historic hydrology affect wetland vegetation community composition, and documenting change from communities described in previous studies. Vegetation biomass samples were collected along transects across Water Conservation Area 3A South (3AS). Ten community types were present between November 2002 and 2005. Separate analyses for key a priori groups (slough, wet prairie, and sawgrass) provided detailed conclusions about effects of historic hydrology on the vegetation of 3AS. Communities were affected by hydrologic variables up to four years previous to the sample. We identified wet prairie/slough species such as Eleocharis spp. and Nymphaea odorata as short-term sentinel species of community change. Sawgrass and N. odorata should be monitored for long-term change. Comparisons to preceding studies indicated that many of the communities of previous times, when conditions were drier, no longer exist in our study area and have been replaced by deeper water community types.

Key Words

characterization Everglades hydrology multivariate analysis 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Florida Cooperative Fish and Wildlife UnitUniversity of FloridaGainesvilleUSA

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