Master of Science
Creed, Irena F.
Trick, Charles G.
Wetland restoration efforts have increased on the Canadian prairies to compensate for widespread loss of wetland area, form, and function. Restoration activity presumes a direct replacement for natural wetlands, where restored wetlands provide equivalent ecological functions and services. However, restoration projects often show limited recovery success in biological structure and biogeochemical function. Using plant functional traits is an emerging approach to assessing ecological process and may provide a better indicator of wetland functional recovery than vegetation structural indicators alone. Here, I tracked vegetation structural metrics (i.e., species richness, composition, and cover) and plant functional traits over a chronosequence of restored wetlands to compare structural and functional recovery and evaluate restoration success. Results suggest rapid structural recovery (within five years of restoration) and similar functional diversity among drained, restored, and natural wetlands. The approach taken towards wetland restoration, combined with a heavily impacted agricultural landscape, may be limiting the recovery potential of wetlands, thereby creating a homogenization of wetland form and function.
Howard, Renee C., "Evaluating restoration success by tracking the structural and functional recovery of restored, drained, and intact wetlands" (2019). Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Repository. 6122.