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Long-term effects of drainage and initial effects of hydrological restoration on rich fen vegetation
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Botany.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Botany.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Evolution, Ecological Botany.
2008 (English)In: Applied Vegetation Science, ISSN 1402-2001, E-ISSN 1654-109X, Vol. 11, no 1, 99-106 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Questions: What vegetational changes does a boreal rich fen (alkaline fen) undergo during a time period of 24 years after drainage? How is plant species richness affected, and what are the changes in composition of ecological groups of species? Is it possible to recover parts of the original flora by rewetting the rich fen? Which are the initial vegetation changes in the flora after rewetting? What are the major challenges for restoration of rich fen flora after rewetting? Location: Eastern central Sweden, southern boreal vegetational zone. Previously rich fen site, drained for forestry purposes during 1978-1979. The site was hydrologically restored (rewetted) in 2002. Method: Annual vegetation survey in permanent plots during a period of 28 years. Results: There were three successional stages in the vegetational changes. In the first stage there was a rapid (< 5 years) loss of rich fen bryophytes. The second step was an increase of sedges and early successional bryophytes, which was followed by an increase of a few emerging dominants, such as Molinia caerulea, Betula pubescens and Sphagnum spp. After rewetting, there are indications of vegetation recovery, albeit at slow rates. Depending on, for instance, initial species composition different routes of vegetation change were observed in the flora after drainage, although after 24 years, species composition became more homogenous and dominated by a few species with high cover. Conclusion: Major changes have occurred after changes in the hydrology (drainage and rewetting) with a severe impact on the biodiversity among vascular plants and bryophytes. Several rich fen bryophytes respond quickly to the changes in water level (in contrast to vascular plants). The recovery after rewetting towards the original rich fen vegetation is slow, as delayed by substrate degradation, dispersal limitation and presence of dominant species.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2008. Vol. 11, no 1, 99-106 p.
Keyword [en]
bryophyte, long-term study, mire, rewetting, succession, wetland restoration
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-97293DOI: 10.3170/2007-7-18329ISI: 000252958300011OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-97293DiVA: diva2:172163
Available from: 2008-05-16 Created: 2008-05-16 Last updated: 2017-12-14
In thesis
1. Plant responses after drainage and restoration in rich fens
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Plant responses after drainage and restoration in rich fens
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Rich fens are an important, but threatened, habitat type in the boreal landscape. In this thesis I have examined responses of rich fen vascular plants and bryophytes after drainage and restoration.

The effects of drainage on the rich fen flora were observed in a long time study and the responses were rapid and drastic. During an initial stage a rapid loss of brown mosses was observed, followed by increases of sedges and early successional bryophytes, and later by an expansion of dominants. Initial effects of hydrological restoration showed that rewetting can promote re-establishment of an ecologically functional rich fen flora, but has to be combined with other treatments, such as mowing or surface disturbance.

After restoration, re-establishment of locally extinct species may be hampered by dispersal limitations. To test if reintroductions could help to overcome dispersal limitations I performed transplantation studies with four common rich fens bryophytes to a rewetted site. The results showed that the species were able to establish, and that survival and growth were promoted by desiccation protection and liming.

I further examined competition among three of the most common bryophytes in natural boreal rich fens that usually occur mixed in a mosaic pattern but show small but important microtopographical niche separation. The results indicate similar competitive abilities among the species, and no case of competitative exclusion occurred. The results help to explain the coexistence of these species under natural conditions with microtopographic variation and repeated small scale natural disturbances.

Restoring a functional flora in drained rich fens is a complex task, which requires understanding of underlying causes of substrate degradation in combination with suitable restoration measures. The thesis suggests how the results can be used in practical restoration work, and also stresses the need for monitoring of restoration experiments over longer time.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2008. 33 p.
Series
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1651-6214 ; 439
Keyword
Ecology, brown mosses, bryophytes, colonization, competition, dispersal limitation, liming, mire, peatland, rewetting, wetland restoration, Ekologi
National Category
Evolutionary Biology Ecology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-8882 (URN)978-91-554-7218-4 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-06-07, the Lecture hall, Dept. of Plant Ecology, Villavägen 14, Uppsala, 13:00
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2008-05-16 Created: 2008-05-16 Last updated: 2016-04-25Bibliographically approved

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Backéus, IngvarRydin, Håkan

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