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Keywords:

  • biodiversity;
  • habitat restoration;
  • Nebraska;
  • Platte River;
  • soil invertebrates;
  • taxonomic sufficiency;
  • wet meadow

Abstract

Soil invertebrate communities are fundamental components of wet meadow ecosystems. We compared soil invertebrate biodiversity between restored and native wet meadows to assess the effectiveness of restoration practices. Biodiversity and biomass were measured in 2002 and 2003 from four native and three restored sites located along a 100-km stretch of the Platte River in south-central Nebraska. The sites ranged in age from 3 to 6 years since restoration. Samples were collected during May, July, and September each year. Soil temperature, soil moisture, percent litter cover, and root mass were measured at each site. Twelve 20 × 20 × 25–cm soil blocks were extracted at each site; soil was washed through a 1-mm sieve; and invertebrates were identified, counted, and weighed. Native sites had higher Shannon and Simpson diversity values and contained greater invertebrate biomass than restored sites. Five invertebrate taxa (isopods, scarab beetles, click beetles, earthworms, and ants) were collected with enough frequency to assess restoration effects on their occurrence. Of these, only ants occurred more frequently in restored sites. Restored sites generally had less litter cover, lower root mass, lower soil moisture, and higher soil temperature than native sites. Current restoration practices may not be completely effective at returning sites to native conditions. Physical reconstruction of wet meadow topography and high-diversity reseeding may not be adequate to fully restore soil invertebrate communities, even over extended periods of time.