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Suisun MarshEcological History and Possible Futures$
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Peter B. Moyle, Amber D. Manfree, and Peggy L. Fiedler

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780520276086

Published to California Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520276086.001.0001

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Shifting Mosaics: Vegetation of Suisun Marsh

Shifting Mosaics: Vegetation of Suisun Marsh

(p.65) 4 Shifting Mosaics: Vegetation of Suisun Marsh
Suisun Marsh

Brenda J. Grewell

Peter R. Baye

Peggy L. Fiedler

University of California Press

Shifting mosaics of vegetation are a defining feature of Suisun Marsh wetlands. Seasonal changes of plant communities are familiar, but less obvious are changes to vegetation structure and composition that have varied over millennia. In this chapter, we describe contemporary plant communities by the hydrogeomorphic settings that link flora to physical processes. We review environmental factors that drive distribution and abundance of plant species adapted to wide fluctuations in salinity and hydrology, and paleobotanical evidence of long-term vegetation changes that have alternated between salt marsh, brackish, and fresh-brackish marsh in cycles lasting from decades to centuries. Looking forward, we project how wetland flora may respond to rising sea level and increased salinity pulses. We then suggest conservation actions.

Keywords:   wetlands, vegetation change, paleobotany, sea-level rise, conservation

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