Soil and hydrological drivers of Typha latifolia encroachment in a marl wetland

P. J. Drohan, C. N. Ross, J. T. Anderson, R. F. Fortney, J. S. Rentch

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Aggressive species competition by Typha latifolia in wetland systems on marl-derived soils may threaten the unique vegetation in these areas. We examined historic water and land use, soil chemistry, soil genesis, and topography in a wetland (Harewood Marsh) that is under encroachment by T. latifolia. An earthen road that bisects the wetland and active pastures in and around the wetland were also considered in the study due to their potential influence on wetland hydrology and nutrient inputs. Historic land uses and trends in surface water patterns were determined via aerial photography. In addition local landowners and city officials were contacted for information about historic water use in the area around the marsh. Soils were augered and sampled in seven locations in the wetland, and at each auger site, vegetation was described. Six wells were installed near the earthen road and weekly water depth measurements were taken from January 2002 to January 2003. In February 2002, 10 A-horizon soil samples (per transect) were taken from three 150-m transects that spanned areas with and without T. latifolia. Results indicate that T. latifolia encroachment is facilitated by a rising water table (the result of the termination of a local municipal water supply source) and N and P inputs, most likely from cattle grazing on the wetland. An increase in the numbers of rare plant species associated with marl wetland habitats appears to have also occurred and is believed partly due to current wetter conditions. Our study provides insight into the dynamics of T. latifolia encroachment in a unique marl wetland habitat and demonstrates how local factors controlling nutrient and hydrologic dynamics can have significant effects on changes in plant community composition.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-122
Number of pages16
JournalWetlands Ecology and Management
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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