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Wetlands

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 127–149 | Cite as

Graminoid community composition and structure within four everglades management areas

  • John M. Wood
  • George W. Tanner
Article

Abstract

Estimates of species density, percentage vegetative cover, biomass, and sawgrass (Cladium jamaicense) height were made in Tall Sawgrass, Medium Sawgrass, and Wet Prairie communities in the SE portion of Water Conservation Area 3A (3A), the SW portion of Water Conservation Area 3B (3B), the NW portion of Northeast Shark Slough (NSS), and the NE portion of Everglades National Park (ENP) during dry season and wet season sampling periods in 1986 and 1987. We summarized the history of water management and hydroperiod manipulation in the study area. Wet Prairie had the deepest water of the three plant communities studied, while 3A had deepest water and longest hydroperiod of the four areas. Generally, the greatest species density occurred in NSS, where water was shallowest. Individual sawgrass plants and their basal tussocks were taller in 3A than in the other three areas, which may make plants in 3A more susceptible to damage by airboats and fire. Cover and biomass of sawgrass fluctuated more between sampling periods than among management areas, which rendered lower measurements in Tall Sawgrass in 3B non-significant. Species composition of Wet Prairies, particularly in 3A whereRhynchospora spp. were absent, andNymphaea odorata was dominant, resembled aquatic sloughs. The low species density in the study area may be related to rapid fluctuations in water levels that could drown slow-growing plants, and to infrequent dry periods that preclude seed germination. Species richness was low, compared with other Everglades plant community studies. No annual emergent plants were encountered.

Key Words

sawgrass wet prairie hydroperiod diversity biomass cover 

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • John M. Wood
    • 1
  • George W. Tanner
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Wildlife and Range SciencesUniversity of FloridaGainesville

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