Land-use and isolation interact to affect wetland plant assemblages
Abbreviated Journal Title
SPECIES RICHNESS; FLORISTIC QUALITY; COMMUNITY COMPOSITION; SUBTROPICAL; PASTURES; NUTRIENT ENRICHMENT; SOIL-PHOSPHORUS; WATER-QUALITY; VEGETATION; DIVERSITY; AREA; Biodiversity Conservation; Ecology
Different management regimes imposed on similar habitat types provide opportunities to investigate mechanisms driving community assembly and changes in species composition. We investigated the effect of pasture management on vegetation composition in wetlands with varying spatial isolation on a Florida cattle ranch. We hypothesized that increased pasture management intensity would dampen the expected negative effect of wetland isolation on native species richness due to a change from dispersal-driven community assembly to niche-driven assembly by accentuated environmental tolerance. We used native plant richness, exotic plant richness and mean coefficient of conservatism (CC) to assess wetland plant assemblage composition. Sixty wetlands were sampled, stratified by three levels of isolation across two pasture management intensities; semi-native (less intensely managed; mostly native grasses, never fertilized) and agronomically improved (intensely managed, planted with exotic grasses, and fertilized). Improved pasture wetlands had lower native richness and CC scores, and greater total soil phosphorus and exotic species coverage compared to semi-native pasture wetlands. Increased wetland isolation was significantly associated with decreases in native species richness in semi-native pasture wetlands but not in improved pasture wetlands. Additionally, the species-area relationship was stronger in wetlands in improved pastures than semi-native pastures. Our results indicate that a) native species switch from dispersal-based community assembly in semi-native pastures to a species-sorting process in improved pastures, and b) recently-introduced exotic species already sorted for more intensive management conditions are primarily undergoing dispersal-based community assembly. That land-use may alter the relative importance of assembly processes and that different processes drive native and exotic richness has implications for both ecosystem management and restoration planning.
"Land-use and isolation interact to affect wetland plant assemblages" (2010). Faculty Bibliography 2010s. 7012.