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Keywords:

  • fen;
  • wetland;
  • plant community;
  • hydrology;
  • invasive species;
  • management

Abstract

  • 1.
    Long-term studies are necessary to describe effects of restoration efforts on plant communities and invasive species in North American fen communities. In 1986, 1999 and 2000, wetland plant communities and abiotic factors were sampled in two fens in Ohio that were actively managed as a state nature preserve since 1986. The correlation between plant species and environmental conditions was examined in 1986 to 2000, and changes in woody plant cover were measured on aerial photographs from 1938 to 1997 to analyse long-term effects of management practices.
  • 2.
    142 vascular plant species and 32 bryophyte taxa were found in these rich fens, including 13 rare (i.e. state-listed as endangered, threatened or potentially threatened) and 14 alien species. TWINSPAN analyses identified nine plant community types, and species distributions were correlated with several abiotic factors (groundwater depth, pH, soil organic content, distance from wetland edge and depth of peat). Communities along the wetland edge in deep peat had higher richness, more woody species, more alien species and fewer rare species than communities in areas near sources of flowing groundwater with more marl and less peat.
  • 3.
    There was little change in species richness, evenness, and Shannon's diversity from 1986 to 2000. However, plant species assemblages changed during the study, and changes were different in unmanipulated transects compared with those where habitat managers removed invasive woody plants. An aerial photograph analysis indicated that woody plant cover increased by about 1% each year during 1938 to 1997 despite current management efforts to remove invasive trees and shrubs. Additional strategies should be directed toward reducing shrub encroachment and invasive species while promoting rare species.

Copyright © 2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.