Assessing the potential for seed-based restoration in a highly degraded freshwater marsh

Authors:
Carrie Reinhardt Adams

Publication Date:
2019

Abstract/Summary:
In highly invaded ecosystems, establishment from any restoration seeding may be limited. Evidence to support seed-based restoration in wetlands, where invasion pressure is often disproportionately high, is more limited than in terrestrial systems. Despite the importance of a priori investigations of the potential for seed-based restoration to succeed, efforts to quickly and effectively ascertain limitations to this method are not well-established. Methodology for seedbank assays and vegetation cover assessments are typically intensive efforts designed to answer research questions, rather than minimal cost approaches to guide management. Keeping effort levels minimal as directed by project managers, we characterized the potential for seed-based restoration for five management units within a degraded freshwater wetland in central Florida, USA. We assessed potential barriers to seeding success, including colonization from extant vegetation and emergence from the seed bank, to determine potential competition from undesirable species. Analysis confirmed the plant community was sufficiently characterized within the time constraints determined, and that seed-based restoration potential differs with management unit. For instance, 1) invasive species more likely challenge native seeding via emergence from the seedbank in units that have saturated, as opposed to field capacity, soil moisture; 2) invasive cover is spatially variable in some units, creating opportunities for selective invader removal, and colonization from extant desirable vegetation; and 3) suitability of seed-based revegetation varied with dominant guild of the desired vegetation type for any given unit. We characterize the unique challenges these wetlands present to seed-based restoration and suggest strategies to overcome them.

Resource Type:
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program

Source:
Society for Ecological Restoration