Ecological impacts of fire on surface water chemistry in phosphorus enriched Everglades wetlands.
Miao, ShiLi 1, Carstenn, Susan*,2, 3, 1 South Florida Water Management District, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA2 BEM Systems, Inc, West Palm Beach, Florida, USA3 Hawaii Pacific University, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
ABSTRACT- Restoring ecosystems at a landscape scale creates a challenge for restoration ecologists. Thousands of hectares of phosphorus (P) enriched wetlands with monospecific cattail (Typha spp.) communities exist in the Everglades. While prescribed fire has been used to control cattail in other areas of the Everglades of Florida, little has been reported quantitatively about long-term effects of fire and its frequency on P biochemistry in water and soil, cattail productivity and species composition in P enriched regions. Therefore, a large-scale field experiment was initiated in the Everglades using a Before After Control Impact-Paired Series (BACIPS) experimental design to address ecological impacts of fire on primary wetland ecosystem processes. The study provides scientific evidence addressing the efficacy of fire as a tool to accelerate recovery of cattail communities in P enriched areas. Four 6.25 ha plots were selected in April 2005, two in a highly P impacted site and two in a moderately impacted area. In each site, the first of multiple burns was conducted in one plot and the other served as a control. Water and soil P reflux was monitored weekly and monthly within and down stream of the plots. In addition, vegetation re-growth processes were examined monthly. Here, we will present the magnitude and duration of P reflux into the surface water after the initial fire and the magnitude, duration and distance of downstream effects.
Key words: wetland, restoration, phosphorus, water quality
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