Created wetlands are frequently structurally different from the natural wetlands they are intended to replace. With differences in structure might come differences in function. Most created wetlands in central Pennsylvania have very low amounts of soil organic matter relative to levels found in natural wetlands. However, anecdotal evidence also suggests that plant production is equivalent in created wetlands to natural wetlands. There is little evidence to indicate that this plant biomass in created wetlands is finding its way into the soil as organic matter. This might translate into a lack of function in the mitigation wetlands. To address this issue, we studied plant biomass production in seven created wetlands in central Pennsylvania (USA). We measured above- and below-ground biomass and compared results with known values of soil organic matter and hydrology for the same wetlands. We found biomass to be approximately equivalent to that produced in natural freshwater marshes, although the below-ground component was somewhat higher. We found no relationship of biomass to soil organic matter, even though site conditions were wet enough to retard plant decomposition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Engineering
- Nature and Landscape Conservation
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law