Loss of wetland habitats and their associated biological communities is a major environmental concern. Quality assessment indices (QAIs) and indices of biological integrity (IBIs) are useful for assessing the responses of taxa to wetland habitat quality and land use in the surrounding landscape. We synthesized the results of our previous predictive modeling studies of five IBIs and QAIs for communities of mosses, vascular plants, and amphibians in forested and emergent wetlands in Ohio (USA). Overall, the single best predictor of these indices was a metric that estimated site-scale (i.e., within the wetland boundaries) substrate and habitat development, alteration, and disturbance. The second most important predictor was a metric that assessed site-scale wetland plant community types and quality, degree of interspersion, and microtopography. Landscape-scale variables better predicted moss and amphibian indices than either vascular plant index. Our results indicate that applying management practices that reduce the effects of site-scale anthropogenic disturbances and increase habitat complexity, such as creating forested buffers surrounding wetlands, increasing wetland contiguity, and creating hummocks and tussocks may simultaneously enhance amphibian, vascular plant, and moss communities in forested and emergent wetlands. Such a focused strategy may enable management agencies to more effectively apportion resources for wetland restoration and construction projects.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Site-scale disturbance best predicts moss, vascular plant, and amphibian indices in Ohio wetlands|
|Series title||Ecological Restoration|
|Publisher||University of Wisconsin Press|
|Contributing office(s)||Great Lakes Science Center|