Rate of succession in restored wetlands and the role of site context

  • Published source details Matthews J.W. & Endress A.G. (2010) Rate of succession in restored wetlands and the role of site context. Applied Vegetation Science.


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 study in 1991–2006 of 15 restored marshes and nine restored swamps in Illinois, USA (Matthews & Endress 2010) found that the overall plant community composition changed over the four years following restoration, and reported that the wetlands overall experienced a net gain in plant species richness. The plant community in younger restored marshes was characterized by annual herbs like Pennsylvania smartweed Persicaria pensylvanica and barnyard grasses Echinocloa spp., whereas older restored marshes were characterized by clonal perennial herbs like broadleaf cattail Typha latifolia, reed canarygrass Phalaris arundinacea and rice cutgrass Leersia oryzoides (data reported as a graphical analysis). Across all 24 restored marshes and swamps, plant species richness increased over time. On average, each wetland lost 20% of the plant species present at the start of each year but gained 27%. Methods: Between 1991 and 2002, twenty-four degraded wetlands were restored by (a) removing drainage structures, building berms and/or excavating, then (b) planting herbs, trees, shrubs, or nothing. The study does not describe which intervention(s) were carried out in each wetland. Vascular plant species (and, in marshes, their cover) were recorded in the first four summers following restoration.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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