Improving the ability to include freshwater wetland plants in process-based models

Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
By: , and 



Considerable effort and resources have been placed into conservation programs designed to reduce or alleviate negative environmental effects of crop production and into evaluation of the benefits of these programs. Wetlands are an important source of ecosystem services, but modeling wetland plants is an emerging science. To date, wetland plant growth has not been explicitly accounted for in ecosystem service models that quantify conservation program effects. As part of an effort to more accurately simulate wetland plants within process-based models, we expanded upon plant growth data collected in an earlier effort with additional sampling at two of four previously sampled areas, and included a fifth sampling site. We then used data from the five sites spanning five years as wetland plant parameters at both the species and functional group levels for the Agricultural Land Management Alternative with Numerical Assessment Criteria (ALMANAC) model. In addition to individual species, modelers are interested in functional groups representing a collection of species because it is unrealistic to model every species occurring in an ecosystem. ALMANAC simulations were completed at three sites for both individual wetland plant species and functional groups. At each site, simulated plant yields were within 1 Mg ha–1 (±7%) of measured values (r2 = 0.99). Multisite species simulated yields were within 37% of measured values (r2 = 0.95). Functional groups performed as well as individual species simulations. Functional group simulated yields were within 1 Mg ha–1 (±5%) of measured yields. Plant growth is a major component of these wetland ecosystems, and ALMANAC verified wetland plant parameters support more accurate assessments of conservation programs and practices on the influence of wetland ecosystems embedded within agricultural fields. The improved plant parameters we provide here will be transferred to other process-based models that focus on other ecosystem components such as soil and water effects, facilitating wetland evaluations across the United States and elsewhere.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Improving the ability to include freshwater wetland plants in process-based models
Series title Journal of Soil and Water Conservation
DOI 10.2489/jswc.2020.00089
Volume 75
Year Published 2020
Language English
Publisher Soil and Water Conservation Society
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description 9 p.
First page 704
Last page 712
Country United States
State California, Delaware, Maryland, North Dakota, Texas
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