A comparison of plant communities in mitigation and reference wetlands in the mid-Appalachians

  • Published source details Balcombe C.K., Anderson J.T., Fortney R.H., Rentch J.S., Grafton W.N. & Kordek W.S. (2005) A comparison of plant communities in mitigation and reference wetlands in the mid-Appalachians. Wetlands, 25, 130-142.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create freshwater marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Restore/create freshwater marshes or swamps (specific action unclear)

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2001–2002 of 15 freshwater wetlands in West Virginia, USA (Balcombe et al. 2005) found that created wetlands contained different, richer and more diverse vegetation to natural wetlands, but with a similar proportion of wetland species and total herb cover. After 4–21 years, both created and natural sites contained wetland-characteristic plant communities (data reported as a wetland indicator index). However, the plant species composition significantly differed between created and natural wetlands (data reported as a graphical analysis). Created wetlands supported a greater abundance of non-native and early-colonizing species (e.g. reed canary grass Phalaris arundinacea; see Study 7 and original paper for cover data). Created wetlands had greater plant species richness on average (13 species/500 m2) than natural wetlands (8 species/500 m2). The same was true for diversity (data reported as a diversity index). In contrast, created and natural wetlands contained a statistically similar percentage of wetland-characteristic species (created: 79%; natural: 90% of all plant species) and total cover of herb species (created: 39%; natural: 54%). Methods: In summer 2001 and 2002, vegetation was surveyed in fifteen wetlands: eleven created/restored 4–21 years previously (details not reported) and four natural (undisturbed). Plant species were recorded in at least one 500-m2 plot/vegetation type/wetland. Cover of these species was estimated in five 1-m2 quadrats/plot. This study used the same sites as (7).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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