Plant Community Reassembly in Restored Wetlands
When wetlands are restored to reverse ecosystem degradation caused by anthropogenic change, the hope is that plant and animal communities will efficiently re-assemble once stressors on the ecosystem have been minimized. In many situations, however, anthropogenic change is so severe or widespread that re-assembly occurs slowly, if at all, without active seeding or planting. A common need for wetland restoration projects is to anticipate how much active intervention is needed for plants and animal communities to recover. Studies of plant reassembly in restored wetlands indicate that recolonization potential depends on three main factors: the level of site degradation, the extent of anthropogenic change to wetlands in the surrounding landscape, and the kind of wetland being restored. Which species actually become established depends on a fourth factor, the array of environmental conditions in the restored wetland. The longest lags of recolonization will likely occur in restored wetlands that lack remnant vegetation and seedbanks and that are isolated from extant wetlands. In these situations, actively seeding or planting dominant species is necessary to restore wetland vegetation.
KeywordsWetland restoration Wetland revegetation Seedbanks Seed dispersal
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