Vegetation dynamics in response to organic matter loading rates in a created freshwater wetland in southeastern Virginia

  • Published source details Bailey D.E., Perry J.E. & Daniels W.L. (2007) Vegetation dynamics in response to organic matter loading rates in a created freshwater wetland in southeastern Virginia. Wetlands, 27, 936-950.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add below-ground organic matter before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Add below-ground organic matter before/after planting trees/shrubs: freshwater wetlands

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2002–2005 in a created freshwater wetland in Virginia, USA (Bailey et al. 2007) found that the effects of adding organic matter to plots planted with tree saplings depended on the dose added. Four different doses of organic matter were used. After approximately three years, plots receiving the three highest doses contained a plant community characteristic of drier – but still wetland – conditions than unamended plots (data reported as a wetland indicator index). In plots receiving the two highest doses, birch Betula spp. saplings were significantly larger than in unamended plots (size calculated as an index combining height, stem diameter and crown diameter; data not reported). Plots receiving the highest dose had lower plant species richness (5.3 species/m2) than unamended plots (7.4 species/m2). The same was true for plant diversity (data reported as a diversity index). In all other comparisons, there were no significant differences between amended and unamended plots (see original paper for data). Further, at all four doses, above-ground vegetation biomass did not significantly differ between amended plots (580–790 g/m2) and unamended plots (604 g/m2). Methods: In June 2002, twenty 14-m2 plots were established, in four sets of five, on an 8-year-old created wetland. All plots were cleared and tilled. In July, organic matter (dry wood and garden compost) was mixed into the surface of 16 plots (four random plots/set, each with a different dose: 56, 112, 224 or 336 Mg/ha). The remaining four plots (one random plot/set) received no organic matter. In December 2002, ten saplings (five birch, five pin oak Quercus palustris) were planted in each plot and fertilized. Vegetation was surveyed in 2005. Plant species and cover were recorded monthly April–October. Surviving birch saplings were counted in June. Vegetation samples were cut in August, then dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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