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Are Invasive Phragmites Australis Better Wetlands Plants Than Native Typha Domingensis for Removing Nutrients in Dry Regions?

Author(s): Kumud Acharya; Achyut Adhikari

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Keywords: Rid regions; Wetland plants; Nutrient removal; Ecosystem services

Abstract: The importance of the right species of plant is critical in improving ecosystem services by wetlands. In certain landscapes (e.g., landscapes where invasive species have already come to dominate), invasive species may provide better services. We investigated the extent to which an invasive wetland plant, common reeds (Phragmites australis) may improve nutrient retention services in an arid and dry wetland landscape. We compared common reeds to a native wetland plant, cattails (Typha domingensis Pers. ) common to the southwestern United States. We analyzed common reeds and cattails cover found along the Las Vegas Wash (LVW), Nevada USA through geographic information system mapping and ground truthing. Results showed that common reeds cover is increasing over time in areas with altered hydrology and higher nutrient inputs. Because common reeds tolerate more mesic conditions than cattails, it is more dominant in the landscape. As a consequence of this dominance common reeds play a significant role in nutrient retention. The average above-ground biomass of cattails varied from 5.6 to 11.1 kg dry weight (DW) m -2 and from 2.5 to 6.3 kg DW m -2 for common reeds. The above-ground nutrient storage potential in the LVW wetlands were estimated to be approximately 52-133 TN g m -2 and 2.2-6.8 TP g m -2 for common reeds and to be approximately85-168 TN g m -2 and 4.5-8.8 TP g m -2 for cattails. Considering the geographical extent of common reeds in the landscape, the importance of common reeds in improving nutrient retention services exceeded that of cattails.


Year: 2016

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