Manipulations of the vegetation and hydrology of wetlands for mosquito control are common worldwide, but these modifications may affect vital ecosystem processes. To control mosquitoes in mangrove swamps in eastern Florida, managers have used rotational impoundment management (RIM) as an alternative to the worldwide practice of mosquito ditching. Levees surround RIM swamps, and water is pumped into the impoundment during the summer, a season when natural swamps have low water levels. In the New World, these mosquito-managed swamps resemble the mixed basin type of mangrove swamp (based on PCA analysis). An assessment was made of RIM, natural (control), and breached-RIM (restored) swamps in eastern Florida to compare their structural complexities, soil development, and resistance to invasion. Regarding structural complexity, dominant species composition differed between these swamps; the red mangrove Rhizophora mangle occurred at a higher relative density in RIM and breached-RIM swamps, and the black mangrove Avicennia germinans had a higher relative density in natural swamps. Tree density and canopy cover were higher and tree height lower in RIM swamps than in natural and breached-RIM swamps. Soil organic matter in RIM swamps was twice that in natural or breached-RIM swamps. RIM swamps had a lower resistance to invasion by the Brazilian pepper tree Schinus terebinthifolius, which is likely attributable to the lower porewater salinity in RIM swamps. These characteristics may reflect differences in important ecosystem processes (primary production, trophic structure, nutrient cycling, decomposition). Comparative assessments of managed wetlands are vital for land managers, so that they can make informed decisions compatible with conservation objectives. ?? Inter-Research 2008.
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Characteristics of mangrove swamps managed for mosquito control in eastern Florida, USA