A Paleoecological Perspective on Wetland Restoration

Williams, C.J.

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Paleoecological investigations of wetland sedimentary deposits offer the possibility of obtaining accurate reconstructions of base line conditions in the past. Plant remains, such as leaves, seeds, fruits, wood, and pollen, provide a window of variable temporal and spatial resolution into past environmental conditions at a particular site. These archives of physical and biological wetland ecosystem characteristics, if preserved, may be exploited to reconstruct the plant community at a single point in time. Moreover, changes in past plant community composition, hydrology, and the dynamics of wetland ecosystems through time may be better understood. This paper reviews the range of paleoecological information archived in wetland sedimentary deposits that may be understood in the restoration science context. This type of information gleaned by applying paleoecological techniques should provide reasonable targets for restoration ecologists working to improve the quality and quantity of ecosystem functions and services in wetlands.

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