Detecting soil and plant community changes in restored wetlands using a chronosequence approach

Detecting soil and plant community changes in restored wetlands using a chronosequence approach Wetland restoration aims to recreate or enhance valuable ecosystem services lost during wetland destruction. Regaining wetland ecosystem services depends on restarting basic wetland functions, like carbon (C) storage, which are unmeasured in many Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) restoration sites. We collected soil and plant data from 17 WRP sites in western New York that were used for tillage or non-tillage agriculture and then actively restored as isolated depressional wetlands by excavating basins and disabling drainage systems. Sites had been restored for 0–15 years when sampled in August-October 2010. We analyzed data as chronosequences and tested whether soil and vegetation parameters in restored wetlands, over time, (1) departed from pre-restoration baselines, estimated using active agricultural fields paired to each WRP site, and (2) converged towards “natural” benchmarks, estimated from four naturally-occurring wetlands. Restored WRP soils remained similar to agricultural soils in organic matter, density, moisture, and belowground plant biomass across chronosequences, indicating negligible C storage and belowground development for 15 years following restoration. Soil changes were limited in sites restored after both tillage and non-tillage agriculture and throughout the upland meadow, emergent shoreline, and open-water habitat zones that characterize these sites. Many plant metrics like aboveground biomass matched natural wetlands within 15 years, but recovered inconsistently among tilled and untilled sites and across all habitat zones, suggesting land-use history impacts and/or zonation effects. Disparities in recovery times exists between vegetation, which can respond quickly to wetland restoration, and underlying soils, which show limited signs of recovery 15 years after being restored. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Wetlands Ecology and Management Springer Journals

Detecting soil and plant community changes in restored wetlands using a chronosequence approach

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Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer Science+Business Media B.V.
Subject
Life Sciences; Freshwater & Marine Ecology; Conservation Biology/Ecology; Environmental Law/Policy/Ecojustice; Marine & Freshwater Sciences; Hydrology/Water Resources; Water Quality/Water Pollution
ISSN
0923-4861
eISSN
1572-9834
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11273-017-9574-7
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Wetland restoration aims to recreate or enhance valuable ecosystem services lost during wetland destruction. Regaining wetland ecosystem services depends on restarting basic wetland functions, like carbon (C) storage, which are unmeasured in many Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) restoration sites. We collected soil and plant data from 17 WRP sites in western New York that were used for tillage or non-tillage agriculture and then actively restored as isolated depressional wetlands by excavating basins and disabling drainage systems. Sites had been restored for 0–15 years when sampled in August-October 2010. We analyzed data as chronosequences and tested whether soil and vegetation parameters in restored wetlands, over time, (1) departed from pre-restoration baselines, estimated using active agricultural fields paired to each WRP site, and (2) converged towards “natural” benchmarks, estimated from four naturally-occurring wetlands. Restored WRP soils remained similar to agricultural soils in organic matter, density, moisture, and belowground plant biomass across chronosequences, indicating negligible C storage and belowground development for 15 years following restoration. Soil changes were limited in sites restored after both tillage and non-tillage agriculture and throughout the upland meadow, emergent shoreline, and open-water habitat zones that characterize these sites. Many plant metrics like aboveground biomass matched natural wetlands within 15 years, but recovered inconsistently among tilled and untilled sites and across all habitat zones, suggesting land-use history impacts and/or zonation effects. Disparities in recovery times exists between vegetation, which can respond quickly to wetland restoration, and underlying soils, which show limited signs of recovery 15 years after being restored.

Journal

Wetlands Ecology and ManagementSpringer Journals

Published: Sep 11, 2017

References

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