Abstract

Over the last century, millions of hectares of wetlands have been lost due to urban development and agricultural activities throughout the world. In the U.S., efforts have been made by federal and state legislation to restore wetland habitat in exchange for development on wetlands. To restore ecosystem function by reestablishing hydrological metrics (e.g., groundwater level fluctuations), wetland restoration aims to facilitate the growth of wetland vegetation to approximate the original conditions as a proxy for ecological integrity. In 1992, the first landscape-scale off-site mitigation project, the Disney Wilderness Preserve (DWP) was funded by the Walt Disney Company in Poinciana, Florida. My objective was to use digitized land cover categories based on aerial photography (1941-2019) and 35 years of Landsat satellite imagery (1985-2019) to analyze landscape and spectral properties of DWP to better understand the trajectories of bayhead, cypress, and marsh wetland types before and after the eco-hydrological enhancement. After the enhancement, the areal extent of cypress and mixed hardwood swamps and marsh lands slightly increased, while the area of the bayhead swamps slightly decreased. From the spectral trajectory analyses, the initial responses to the enhancement varied among wetland communities and more overall variability among patches was observed through the post-enhancement periods compared to pre-enhancement periods. Post-enhancement trajectories returned to similar levels to pre-enhancement for the majority of the wetlands. This study illustrates the opportunities and challenges associated with monitoring complex wetlands systems for future planning and adaptive management by conservation managers and scientists.

Notes

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Graduation Date

2021

Semester

Spring

Advisor

Weishampel, John

Degree

Master of Science (M.S.)

College

College of Sciences

Department

Biology

Degree Program

Biology

Format

application/pdf

Identifier

CFE0008513

Language

English

Release Date

May 2021

Length of Campus-only Access

None

Access Status

Masters Thesis (Open Access)

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