Ehrenfeld, J. G. (Cook College, Rutgers University, New Brunswick, NJ 08901). Vegetation of forested wetlands in urban and suburban landscapes in New Jersey. J. Torrey Bot. Soc. 132: 262–279. 2005.—Forested wetlands in the northeastern US are increasingly surrounded by urban and suburban land-use, as development spreads outwards from city centers. I have studied a sample of 21 mature deciduous forested wetlands in a densely populated and long-settled region, northeastern New Jersey, in order to 1) describe characteristics of the plant communities of wetlands in such human-dominated landscapes, and 2) test the utility of hydrogeomorphic classification (HGM) in explaining the variation in composition and structure observed among the sites. The wetlands support a rich flora of over 300 species, with a mean richness of 66–92 species per site for the different HGM classes; common species were similar to those reported in previous studies of undisturbed red maple swamps. Structural characteristics (tree diameter and stem densities) were, like species richness and species composition, similar to those reported in previous reviews of red maple swamps, suggesting that despite the urban setting, community composition and structure of these wetlands are similar to those of undisturbed wetlands. Exotic species represented on average 5–11% of the flora of the sites, a value similar to other forested wetlands, suggesting that the urban setting does not result in a higher degree of exotic invasion than expected for forested wetlands in non-urban landscapes. HGM classification was poorly related to all aspects of vegetation structure, suggesting that at least in urban landscapes, it is not useful for predicting characteristics of the vegetation. The ability of these communities to resist major changes due to the urban setting may reflect the facultative-wetland status of most of the species; their ability to tolerate a wide range of wetland conditions allows them to persist despite alterations of hydrological regimes. Forested wetlands in developed landscapes can evidently maintain community composition and structure similar to those in undeveloped landscapes.
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