Chapter

Development of Wetland Plant Communities

Rebecca R. Sharitz and Steven C. Pennings

in Ecology of Freshwater and Estuarine Wetlands

Published by University of California Press

Published in print August 2007 | ISBN: 9780520247772
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520932890 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520247772.003.0006
Development of Wetland Plant Communities

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Plant communities in different types of wetlands vary greatly in species composition, species richness, and productivity. They are influenced to varying degrees by a long list of abiotic factors including hydrologic conditions, position on the landscape, substrate, fertility, climate, environmental stress, and disturbance, and also by a variety of biotic interactions including competition, facilitation, and herbivory. Plant communities range from highly productive herbaceous marshes dominated by a few robust perennial species to infertile but species-rich wet meadows. This chapter deals with wetland plant communities and the general principles that apply to different wetland types. It begins by presenting general concepts about how plant communities in wetlands are structured by abiotic and biotic factors. The chapter then considers the general factors that regulate plant growth and primary productivity in wetlands. It concludes by describing major wetland types.

Keywords: wetland plant communities; wetlands; abiotic factors; biotic factors; hydrologic conditions; competition; environmental stress; plant growth; primary productivity; disturbance

Chapter.  25466 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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