Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 14-15, 1992
McKendrick, Jay D.
Establishing aquatic stands of Arctophila fulva in the Alaska Arctic, pp. 104-110 PDF (3.0 MB)
Establishing Aquatic Stands of Arctophila Fulva In the Alaska Arctic Jay D. McKendrick Professor of Agronomy UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA FAIRBANKS Alaska Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station 533 East Fireweed Palmer, Alaska 99645 Abstract Arctophila fulva is an emergent aquatic grass with a circumpolar distribution. It is palatable to some species of migratory waterfowl and has a relatively high nutritional value among tundra plants. The grass is a pioneer, colonizing wet areas and extending its rhizomes to form pure stands along the margins of arctic ponds and slow-flowing streams. Detached stems of A. fulva produce adventitious roots at nodes and latent axillary buds which develop into independent shoots. This asexual reproduction mode is the most common process for developing new colonies. Wind- driven ice sheets shear the stem fragments from the rhizomes. These detached stems are carried by meltwater across the landscape. Stem fragments stranded in suitable habitats take root and develop new colonies. Studies were conducted to establish A. fulva along margins of natural water bodies and impoundments resulting from industrial developments associated with oil and gas production in the Arctic. The ultimate goal of such plantings is to improve the habitat for migratory waterfowl and other birds, which would be attracted to those water bodies. It was learned that transplanting stem fragments was a feasible technique, and vigorous stands would form if phosphorus fertilizer, 13.4 - 26.8 kg/ha (15-30 lb. P/acre), was added to the transplant location. In our tests, the effects from the fertilizer were either insignificant, or nearly so, for at least two years following application. By the fourth and fifth years the influences were exceptional, with the fertilized stands averaging nearly five times the reproduction level of the unfertilized. Negative factors limiting success of A. fulva stands were: high energy shorelines, turbid water, and competition from other plant species. In this region, the competition from other species is confined to terrestrial sites and water s 15 cm in depth. In water depths greater than 15 cm, Arctophila fulva had the advantage over other emergent plants. Arctophila fulva seldom grew in water deeper than 70 cm on the Alaska coastal plain. Introduction Arctophila fulva, arctic pendant grass, is indigenous to circumpolar habitats. Although it can live in aquatic as well as terrestrial habitats, it reaches its zenith in growth and dominance along shallow margins of lakes, ponds, and edges of slow- moving streams in the arctic and boreal regions of Alaska and in Siberia 104
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