摘要

1. Nitrogen retention in wetlands provides an example of an ecosystem function that is desired by human society, and is a rationale for the creation of wetlands to decrease nitrogen fluxes from nitrate-loaded river catchments to coastal waters.
2. Here, we tested the impact of different vegetation states on species diversity and nitrogen retention during 4 years in surface-flow wetlands receiving nitrate-rich water. Tall emergent vegetation or submerged vegetation was introduced to six experimental wetlands each and six wetlands were left as unplanted controls for free development of vegetation. This resulted in three vegetation states dominated by emergent vegetation, by a mixture of submerged vegetation and filamentous green algae or by filamentous green algae.
3. Species diversity (species richness and Shannon diversity) of plants was initially lowest in free development wetlands, but during the study became lower in the emergent vegetation wetlands than in the other wetlands. Diversity of macroinvertebrates was initially lower in the submerged vegetation wetlands than in the other wetlands, but this difference disappeared during the study. Nitrogen retention was consistently higher in emergent vegetation wetlands than in the other wetlands throughout the study.
4. We conclude that plant diversity in wetlands dominated by tall emergent vegetation gradually became lower than in other wetlands, due to dominant species competitively excluding other plants. However, these wetlands were more efficient at removing nitrogen than those dominated by filamentous algae or submerged macrophytes.
5. Management of wetlands often aims to decrease the dominance of tall emergent vegetation for the benefit of plant species diversity and habitat heterogeneity. Our results demonstrate a biodiversity benefit, but also show that this strategy may decrease the ability of wetlands to remove nitrogen. In this case, there is no support for the hypothesis that biodiversity enhances ecosystem function.

  • 出版日期2010-2