Riparian plant community patterns: A case study from southeastern Arizona

TitleRiparian plant community patterns: A case study from southeastern Arizona
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2002
AuthorsSnyder K.A., Guertin D.P, Jemison R.L., Ffolliott P.F.
JournalArizona-Nevada Academy of Science Journal
Date PublishedDecember 1, 2002
ARIS Log Number142778
AbstractThere is concern about the preservation and, when necessary, restoration of riparian areas in semiarid regions. Understanding patterns of plant species composition and distribution within riparian corridors is helpful in planning for the management and protection of buffer strips that reduce the delivery of sediments to stream systems, maintain streambank stability, and filter excess nutrients that occur in runoff water. To determine how plant community patterns varied along environmental gradients in a semiarid riparian ecosystem, 192 quadrats located on transects radiating away from a mixed perennial and intermittent stream system were sampled for woody and herbaceous plants. Principal Components Analysis (PCA) was used to display community patterns based on species composition and distribution. Three communities of woody plants were observed across hydrologic and elevational gradients: a shrub-dominated Mimosa biuncifera community, a woodland community dominated by Prosopis velutina, and a riparian community dominated by Platanus wrightii. Patterns of herbaceous plants were not related to these gradients.