After channellization of the Kissimmee River, the primary land use of the drained floodplain was cattle pasture but included sod farms. A project to restore the river began in 1999. One of its goals is to reestablish the three dominant, pre-channelization vegetation types (wetland shrub, broadleaf marsh, and wet prairie) in areas where they previously were found. We investigated whether indicator species of these three vegetation types were present in 53 permanent quadrats on the drained floodplain. All seven indicator species were found in the permanent quadrats. We also examined three potential sources of propagules (relict wetlands, seed banks, and several surrogates of hydrochory) for these indicator species. All seven species were found in adjacent relict wetlands; and six were found in the seed banks of permanent quadrats. Based on binomial logistic regressions, the presence of relict wetlands and surrogates for flooding (relative elevation, total days flooded) can predict the presence or absence of most of these indicator species. Sod farming reduced the presence of wet-prairie and broadleaf marsh indicator species in permanent quadrats, in adjacent relict wetlands and in the seed bank. The potential importance of relict wetlands for the re-vegetation of the floodplain was our most important finding.
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Vol. 29 • No. 3