Western Boreal Wetlands & Orchids Dr David Locky, PWS, PBiol Ben Roston Outline Wetlands! Threats to wetlands Wetlands and plant (orchid!) diversity Drivers of diversity in wetlands Orchids, protection, & conservation What is a wetland? A wetland is Land saturated with water to promote wetland or aquatic processes poorly drained soils,
hydrophytic vegetation various kinds of biological activity Albertas Wetlands Adapted from Alberta Environment (2003) Two Main Wetland Types Manitoba Government Two Main Wetland Types Mineral Soil Peatland Manitoba Government Western Boreal Wetlands Pre > 40 cm peat soil
cip Bog Shallow Water WL Sphagnum aquatic plants Marsh Shrub Swamp Conifer Swamp Fen emergent plants
tall shrubs conifer trees brown mosses Swamp Open - Treed Peatland Mineral Soil Western Boreal Wetlands Pre > 40 cm peat soil
cip Bog Shallow Water WL Sphagnum aquatic plants Marsh Shrub Swamp Conifer Swamp Fen emergent plants
tall shrubs conifer trees brown mosses Swamp Open - Treed Peatland Mineral Soil Peatlands by Hydrology, Water Chemistry, & Vegetation PARAMETER Hydrology
BOGS FENS POOR Ombrogenous (everything from above) -but some geogenous for poor fens MODERATE-RI CH EXTREME-RI CH Geogenous (water from rain, runoff, & WT) Geogenous (water from rain,
runoff, and WT) pH 3.0-4.5 4.5-5.5 (5.5) 6.0-7.0 (6.5) 7.0-8.5 Alkalinity (equiv/l) 0 0 or very little 500-1000
No difference (dont define these systems) No plant indicators Poor in indicators Sphagnum spp. Rich in indicator species Brown mosses Canadian Wetland Regions Region Arctic Subarctic Prairie Mountain Boreal Oceanic
Temperate Western Canadian Peatlands Vitt et al. (2000) Wetlands can be old ARID CONDITIONS OF MID-HOLOCENE 7000 5000 YBP WETTER CONDITIONS AFTER 6000 YBP Peatlands: Direct Threats Oil and gas Agriculture www.cen.ulaval.ca/dendro2002/fieldtrip_Yves.html
Natural Resources Canada Fire Logging Peatlands: Indirect Threats Sensitivity Level No Change Very Slight Slight Moderate Severe Extremely Severe The Atlas of Canada (1999) Ticking Time Bomb? Wetlands contain 771 billion tonnes of
greenhouse gases, one-fifth of all the carbon on Earth & about the same amount of carbon as is now in the atmosphere Functional Importance Sources Water Sediment Biodiversity Sinks Water
Organic Matter Carbon (Peat) Transformers Chemistry Clean Water Slow Erosion Peatlands & Biodiversity Peatlands are unique, complex ecosystems of global importance for biodiversity conservation Many species are only found in peatlands & are adapted to low nutrient availability & waterlogging
Peatlands & Biodiversity Ben Roston Ben Roston Peatlands & Biodiversity Species diversity may be lower, but peatlands have a higher proportion of characteristic species than upland ecosystems in the same biogeographic zone Peatlands & Biodiversity Important for biodiversity far beyond their borders maintain hydrological & microclimate features of adjacent areas
provide temporary habitats or refuge areas for upland species Peatlands & Biodiversity Often the last remaining areas in degraded landscapes &, thus, mitigate fragmentation Mean Spp.Richness Richness Species Plant Diversity in Boreal Peatlands Mean Species Richness by Peatland Type 50 40 Bryophytes
Vascular Plants 30 20 10 0 W Bog Sb Swamp W MRF O MRF O ERFn n e d e n pe n c d e u p
e d r n d o e O Fe O Fe p o o F o og k S mp W R R E R M W B c a wa M
Locky & Bayley 2006 l B S Mean Spp.Richness Richness Species Plant Diversity in Boreal Peatlands Mean Species Richness by Peatland Type 50 40 Bryophytes Vascular Plants 30 20
10 0 W Bog Sb Swamp W MRF O MRF O ERFn n e d e n pe n c d e u p e d r n
d o e O Fe O Fe p o o F o og k S mp W R R E R M W B c a wa M Locky & Bayley 2006 l B S
Low MR = Moderate-rich ER = Extreme-rich pH/Alkalinity Conductance Water table Microhabitats High ity ar ,R ity rs ve Di Low Low Low
D iv er si ty ,R ar it y Wooded Black Spruce Wooded Open Open Bog Swamp MR Fen MR Fen ER Fen High High High Low Locky & Bayley 2006
Biodiversity: Mechanisms Low MR = Moderate-rich ER = Extreme-rich pH/Alkalinity Conductance Water table Microhabitats High ity ar ,R ity rs ve Di
Low Low Low D iv er si ty ,R ar it y Wooded Black Spruce Wooded Open Open Bog Swamp MR Fen MR Fen ER Fen High High High
Low Locky & Bayley 2006 Wooded Moderate-rich Fen Vascular plant-bryophyte interaction - Effects on water table - Water storage - Competition - Supply of nutrients Sphagnum Moss Sphagnum leaves (40X) (http://www.dipbot.unict.it/sistematica/Sphag_fo.html) Sphagnum hyaline cells in leaf (400X) Sphagnum Moss & Orchids
Bog Adders Mouth S1 Warnstorffs sphagnum Malaxis paludosa Frequent in Northern Europe, extremely rare in N.A. Unknown on the continent until 1904 (MN) Referred to as rarest orchid in North America Also easily overlooked Small stature, thin stem Smallest (green) flowers? Green, like Sphagnum hummocks it likes Leaves (2) often concealed in mosses Protection of Orchids Legislation protecting rare plants in Canada is fragmentary and of limited effect Plants are a provincial rather than a federal responsibility; each province must enact its
own endangered species legislation Feds under CITES is able to provide protection for plants that are on an internationally accepted list of controlled species: in Canada all orchids and cacti Protection of Orchids In Canada, several species occur that are now so rare and restricted that their continued survival is endangered E.g., small white lady's slipper (Cypripedium candidum) was first plant protected under Ontario law -- now only in a few small colonies in SW Ontario, SK, MB, along with several isolated stations in US Fed.us Protection of Orchids
Canada also has the Species at Risk Act (SARA) In AB, rare plants are not protected unless they are a SARA species But there are no SARA orchids in AB! SARA Orchids (Canada) I. Extirpated Species None II. Endangered Species Eastern Prairie Fringed-orchid, (Platanthera leucophaea) Western Prairie Fringed-orchid, (Platanthera praeclara) Small White Lady's-slipper, (Cypripedium candidum) Purple Twayblade, (Liparis liliifolia) III. Threatened Species
Phantom Orchid, (Cephalanthera austiniae ) III. Special Concern Species None Other Protection Tools Water for Life: ABs Strategy for Sustainability NAWMP Protected Areas Conservation Easements Ecological Gifts Municipal Bylaws Wetland Policy in Alberta Zone Specific Green Zone Forestry, Resource Extraction
Peatlands White Zone Agriculture, Urbanization Prairie potholes http://www.ec.gc.ca/soer-ree/English/vignettes/Terrestrial/terr.cfm?StrPrint=true& Ecoregions Large enough to encompass natural processes (fire & flooding) & capture representative plant and animal species, & natural communities Yet small enough to serve as platforms for
conservation planning and action. Ecoregions & Conservation More ecologically relevant planning unit than political boundaries Standard tool for conservation planning from local to continental scales Nature Conservancy World Wildlife Fund USEPA Suitable for peatlands and that which lies
within? Case Study: Western Boreal Fens What happens when you examine plant diversity, species rarity, & community composition in WMR fens along a longitudinal & a latitudinal transect in the MidBoreal Uplands Ecoregion? Utikuma Lake Prince Albert NP Duck Mountain
Adapted from the Ecological Monitoring and Assessment Network Elevation a b c Precipitation a b b Orographic precipitation at Duck Mountain Overstory Density a b
b Alkalinity b a b Plant Diversity - Region 273 species in total 86 bryophytes 187 vascular plants Vascular Plant Richness Plant Diversity Province 160 140
Mean Total 120 100 80 60 c a b 40 20 0 AB
SK Province MB Provincially Rare Plants AB Lonicera caerulea (S3) Galium labradoricum (S3) Carex prairieae (S3) Carex tennuifolia (S3S4) Cypripedium acaule (S3) 5 Location SK MB
Axis 3 Vascular Plant Community Axis 1 Location AB SK MB N = 80 Stress = 6.99 3-Dimensional Solution Richness & Environment Vascular plants decrease with latitude
Bryophytes increase with latitude Conservation Implications Plant community & environmental variables over a continental scale within a single Ecoregion shows a continuous change even in a single wetland type within an Ecoregion and not across Ecoregional boundaries Conservation Implications For common wetland types, even those with a higher likelihood of rare
plants (orchids!), Ecoregion level conservation may not make sense Conservation Implications A matter of scale Management at finer scale, i.e., Ecodistrict-level, may be more appropriate Thank You & Happy Orchid-Hunting! David Locky [email protected]
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