Assessing the Relationship Between Topography and Plant Diversity in restored and remnant wet prairies

Claire Marie Reed-Dustin, Audie Paulus, Willis Logsdon, Sam Maloney, Rachel Lytton, Tatiana Piazza, Tiziana Stuparitz


Wet prairies provide numerous ecosystem services and habitat for native plant species. The relationship between microtopographic variation and plant diversity in six restored and remnant wet prairies was examined in the West Eugene Wetlands to aid future restoration projects. It was predicted that variation in elevation is influential in determining native plant community composition. Along transects within previously established macroplots, soil surface elevation and water depth were measured and percent cover of grasses, forbs, and non-forbs, and measured vegetation and litter height were determined. A linear regression was performed comparing native species richness to the topographic coefficient of variation which yielded an R2 value of 0.43 and a p-value of 0.16. Although the results are not statistically significant, they demonstrate a meaningful correlation between native plant richness and the coefficient of variation of topography. Further observations additionally suggest that this relationship is present. We suggest further research to determine significant results and suggest the integration of the restoration of microtopography into wetland management.

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