Transplant wetland soil before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands
Overall effectiveness category No evidence found (no assessment)
Number of studies: 0
Background information and definitions
Loose soil can be transplanted from a healthy marsh or swamp to a one that is being created or restored. Soil could simply be added to a recipient site, or be used to replace material in the recipient site. Soil transplants can be useful to introduce a chemically and physically suitable substrate for growth of wetland vegetation, and a mixture of soil organisms such as bacteria, fungi and invertebrates (Anderson & Cowell 2004). Thus, soil transplants might be used to aid the initial survival and growth of introduced marsh or swamp plants. Soil transplants usually also contain a mixture of wetland plant seeds, roots, tubers or rhizomes, which could supplement the focal introduced vegetation to create a diverse, wetland-characteristic plant community.
Caution: This action inevitably causes damage to any donor site. Also, transplanted soil could contain invasive plants, animals or microorganisms. A possible solution to these problems is to use soil from healthy marshes or swamps that are earmarked for destruction. Using local donor sites could minimize the spread of invasive species, and make use of communities adapted to local conditions.
Other published names for this action include “salvaged marsh surface replacement”, transplanting “seed banks” and “mulching”. We restrict the latter term to the addition of organic matter that is largely free of plant propagules, e.g. domestic compost or seaweed, to the ground surface.
Anderson C.J. & Cowell B.C. (2004) Mulching effects on the seasonally flooded zone of west-central Florida, USA wetlands. Wetlands, 24, 811–819.
Brown S.C. & Bedford B.L. (1997) Restoration of wetland vegetation with transplanted wetland soil: an experimental study. Wetlands, 17, 424–437.