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Restoration effects on germination and survival of plants in the riparian zone: a phytometer study
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences.
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
Umeå University, Faculty of Science and Technology, Department of Ecology and Environmental Sciences. (Arcum)
2015 (English)In: Plant Ecology, ISSN 1385-0237, E-ISSN 1573-5052, Vol. 216, no 3, 465-477 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Many streams that were channelized to facilitate timber floating in northern Sweden, have in recent years been restored by returning coarse sediment (cobbles and boulders) to the channel and reconnecting riparian with instream habitats. We asked if such restoration measures affect germination and survival of plants in the riparian zone, and if such potential effects depend on location in the catchment. We used a paired site approach, comparing the performance of Helianthus annuus (sunflower) phytometers (seeds and seedlings) in the riparian zone in channelized versus restored river reaches along climate and stream size gradients in the Vindel River catchment in northern Sweden. Phytometer survival, substrate availability, and soil nutrient content in large streams were enhanced by restoration, but overall, phytometer performance was negatively related to the length of the growing season, i.e. phytometers grew best at high altitudes and short growing seasons. This result may have been caused by less competition from the shorter and sparser neighbouring vegetation at these sites or to more frequent flooding events, enhancing retention of organic matter. Soil nutrient levels were lowest close to the coast and in large streams, probably due to deposition of mineral sediment. The higher availability of riparian habitat at restored than at channelized sites suggests that plant species richness and abundance may potentially increase after restoration. Seedling transplantation seems to be a preferable revegetation measure, because phytometer seedlings established better than seeds and survival was significantly higher at restored sites. The good plant performance at sites with short growing seasons and high altitudes suggests that, with limited resources, restoration measures should first be located to such sites.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2015. Vol. 216, no 3, 465-477 p.
Keyword [en]
Habitat availability, Helianthus annuus, Plant performance, Relative growth rate, Soil, Sunflower, rvival, Sweden
National Category
Botany
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101385DOI: 10.1007/s11258-015-0450-3ISI: 000349975000010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-101385DiVA: diva2:840221
Note

Originally published in manuscript form with title "Restoration effects on germination and establishment of plants in the riparian zone: a phytometer study"

Available from: 2015-07-07 Created: 2015-03-30 Last updated: 2017-12-04Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Use of phytometers for evaluating ecological restoration
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Use of phytometers for evaluating ecological restoration
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The increase in ecological restoration can be attributed to valuation of healthyecosystems and concerns for future climate changes. Freshwaters belong among theglobally most altered ecosystems and are restored to counteract human impacts.Many Swedish streams that were channelized to facilitate timber floating have beenrestored by returning boulders and reconnecting riparian with instream habitats.Evaluation of restoration lacks reliable indicators of organism performance, possiblydue to the complexity of ecosystem responses. Phytometers, i.e. standardized plantstransplanted to different environments, are important indicators of restorationsuccess. Phytometers integrate multiple environmental factors and measureecosystem functions directly. This thesis combines a literature review with threeexperiments and focuses on phytometer use for evaluating ecological restoration. Werecommend using different phytometer species, life-forms and life-stages and longexperiments (>1 year) to obtain high resolution and generality (I). In greenhouse andfield experiments we investigated the effect of restoring channelized rivers onphytometers and abiotic variables in the riparian zone. We hypothesized thatphytometer performance varies with stream size and climate. In the greenhouse, weanalysed differences in fertility between channelized and restored reaches by growingphytometers on soils from experimental sites (II). Phytometers grew better on soilsfrom restored sites in small streams, indicating a positive effect of restoration on soil.We detected this effect already 3-7 years after restoration, suggesting a fasterrecovery than predicted. In a short-term field experiment focusing on germinationand establishment of sunflowers, seedling survival, substrate availability, and soilnutrient content in large streams were enhanced by restoration (III). Overall,phytometers performed best at high altitudes and short growing seasons. The use ofMolinia caerulea and Filipendula ulmaria as phytometers in a long-term fieldexperiment (IV) revealed a better performance at restored sites. One reason was thatsummer flow-variability was higher, particularly in medium-sized streams. Sincephytometers allocated more biomass to belowground parts at restored compared tochannelized sites, it seems important to separate above- and belowground biomass inrestoration evaluation. Restoration outcomes vary with location in the catchment.Knowing such potentially different responses could guide restorationists in where tolocate restoration to be effective or successful. We suggest that small streams reactparticularly fast to restoration. Given that the proportion of small streams is high andthat restoration success in headwaters may favour downstream reaches, werecommend restoration to begin in tributaries to larger rivers. It is not always knownwhy phytometers react the way they do. Greenhouse experiments can disentangle thecauses of phytometer responses in the field by focusing on single environmentalfactors. We demonstrate that phytometers integrate ecosystem responses torestoration by reflecting how environmental factors affect plants under fieldconditions. Further studies are needed to better understand the underlyingmechanisms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå Universitet, 2013. 31 p.
Keyword
Bioassay, Channelization, Ecosystem change, Ecosystem response
National Category
Ecology
Research subject
Ecological Botany
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-70098 (URN)978-91-7459-623-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-05-31, Uminova Science Park, Tvistevägen 48, Älgsalen, Umeå universitet, Umeå, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Funder
Swedish Research Council Formas, 215-2006-491
Available from: 2013-05-08 Created: 2013-05-03 Last updated: 2015-07-07Bibliographically approved

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