Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository

Degree

Master of Science

Program

Geography

Supervisor

Dr. Irena Creed

Abstract

Wetlands are restored to compensate for wetland loss and degradation. To determine the potential rate and success of vegetation recovery in restored wetlands, prairie wetlands of different restoration ages (3 to 23 years since restoration), including drained and natural (embedded within both agricultural and protected landscape), were sampled for vegetation in Alberta, Canada. Vegetation was assessed based on species richness, percentage and cover of hydrophytes, natives and non-natives, and community composition. Analysis of covariance with wetland area as a covariate and non-metric multidimensional scaling results indicated that restored wetlands resembled low-integrity natural wetlands that occurred on agricultural landscapes within 3-5 years of restoration. However, restored wetlands differed in community composition when compared to high-integrity natural wetlands that occurred on protected landscapes. Early establishment of non-native species during recovery, dispersal limitation, and depauperated native seedbank were probable barriers to successful recovery. This differential success of vegetation recovery highlights the need for improved region-specific wetland restoration actions.


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