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The effects of changes in land-use on swamps of the New Jersey Pine Barrens


The effects of changes in land-use on swamps of the New Jersey Pine Barrens



Biological Conservation 25: 3-75



ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3207

DOI: 10.1016/0006-3207(83)90070-8

A qualitative study was made of the vegetation of Pine Barrens swamps, in order to determine whether species composition is altered in sites draining developed lands. Thirty-two sites (half pristine) were examined, and at each, as complete as possible a list of species and relative abundances was compiled. Of a total of 177 species, 73 occurred only in developed sites, and 26 only in pristine sites. The remainder were recorded at both types of sites, but changed in frequency of occurrence. Developed sites tended to lose the herbaceous species characteristic of the region, and to suffer a decrease in the frequency of the characteristic shrub species. In their place, a diverse group of plants, including species from surrounding biogeographic regions, cosmopolitan species, and exotic species, invaded the developed sites; these invaders were mostly herbaceous, and included a large number of vine species. Because of this influx of new species, developed sites had greater species richness (mean of 34 species per site) than did the pristine sites (28 species per site). Polar ordination and an ANOVA of coefficients of community similarity showed that pristine sites were significantly more similar to each other (mean similarity 29%) than to the developed sites (inter-type similarity 20%). Thus, land use changes in the Pine Barrens substantially degraded the character of the region's wetlands.

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Accession: 018166309

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