Changes in vegetation were studied on 15 acres of a 35 acre forested wetland created as a mitigation site in Anne Arundel County, Maryland during 1994-96. Meter-square sampling on four different hydrologic elevations determined that grasses initially dominated the area, but decreased from 59 percent in 1994 to 51 percent in 1995 and 30 percent in 1996. Herbaceous non-grass plants (forbs) increased from 19 percent to 56 percent in the three-year period. Area with no plant cover decreased from 21 percent in 1994 to 11 percent in 1995, and 10 percent in 1996. Woody plants comprised 2 percent of the cover in 1994, increased to 4 percent in 1995, and remained at 4 percent in 1996. The increase of woody plants was mainly from natural regeneration (pioneer) plants. Monitoring of the transplanted trees and shrubs indicated 35 percent mortality and little growth of surviving plants. The pioneer woody plant forming most of the cover was black willow (Salix nigra). Differences in the vegetation were observed among the four elevations, although no differences were observed for the major vegetation classes between plots that were planted and those that were not planted with woody plants. Dominant grass species was redtop (Agrostis stolonifera), which comprised 51 percent of the cover in 1994 and 42 percent cover in 1995 and 23 percent in 1996. Other species that were common were bush clover (Lespedeza cuneata), Japanese clover (Lespedeza striata) and flat pea (Lathyrus sylvestris). All four of these dominant species were part of the original seed mixtures that were seeded on the site. A total of 134 species of plants was recorded on the site indicating a fairly diverse community for a newly established habitat.
Additional publication details
Early vegetational changes on a forested wetland constructed for mitigation