eMonocot Cyperaceae

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Early development of plant community in a created mitigation wetland as affected by introduced hydrologic design elements

Publication Type:Journal Article
Year of Publication:2011
Authors:Ahn, C., Dee S.
Journal:Ecological Engineering
Keywords:central pennsylvania, created wetland, environmental-conditions, floristic quality assessment index (fqai), heterogeneity, hydrologic regime, litter cover, microtopography, quality assessment index, soil, southeastern virginia, USA, vegetation, wetland creation design, wetland vegetation

The goal of this study was to investigate early plant community development in two sites (i.e., higher and lower elevation sites-LC1 and LC2, respectively) of the Loudoun County (LC) mitigation wetland created in the Virginia Piedmont. The effects of hydrologic design elements incorporated during the construction (i.e., disking-induced microtopography-MT and site level elevation difference) on vegetative and hydrologic attributes (e.g., species richness, biodiversity, plant cover, floristic quality assessment index, wetland indicator status, soil moisture content, and water table depths) were investigated. The study was conducted at the end of two growing seasons in 2008 and 2009 (i.e., second and third growing seasons). Drought conditions that persisted into the second growing season resulted in the abundance of a seeded cover grass, Lolium multiflorum (Italian ryegrass), intentionally planted during initial seeding for erosion control. L multiflorum was subsequently phased out and replaced by facultative wet and obligate wetland species by the third growing season when above-average precipitation occurred, leading to a decrease in total percent cover. Prevalence index changed in both LC1 and LC2, dropping from overall facultative status in 2008 to obligate status in 2009 when obligate species such as Bidens cernua, Carex frankii, and Juncus effusus thrived and expanded with the change of hydrologic regime in 2009. Microtopographic treatment (i.e., disked or undisked) positively influenced vegetation development for LC1 site in 2008, but the positive influence was not consistent for LC2, which experienced an additional month of standing water conditions in the same year, nor for either site in 2009 when above-average precipitation occurred. The site differences in elevation, and thus hydrologic regime, seemed to overwhelm the effects on vegetation of disking-induced microtopography in each site when precipitation was at or above average range. Although shown on short spatial and temporal scales in this study, incorporation of micro- and macrotopographic design elements in creating a mitigation wetland can be beneficial to the early development of diverse vegetation communities wetland under varying climate conditions. (C) 2011 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

Scratchpads developed and conceived by (alphabetical): Ed Baker, Katherine Bouton Alice Heaton Dimitris Koureas, Laurence Livermore, Dave Roberts, Simon Rycroft, Ben Scott, Vince Smith