Biogeomorphic feedback between plant growth and flooding causes alternative stable states in an experimental floodplain

Chen Wang, Qiao Wang, Dieter Meire, Wandong Ma, Chuanqing Wu, Zhen Meng, Johan Van de Koppel, Peter A Troch, Ronny Verhoeven, Tom De Mulder, Stijn Temmerman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

11 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

It is important to understand the mechanisms of vegetation establishment on bare substrate in a disturbance-driven ecosystem because of many valuable ecosystem services. This study tested for empirical indications of local alternative stable states controlled by biogeomorphic feedbacks using flume experiments with alfalfa: (1) single flood experiments different in flood intensity and plant growth, (2) long-term evolution experiments with repeated flooding and seeding. We observed: (1) a combination of thresholds in plant growth and flooding magnitude for upgrowing seedlings to survive; (2) bimodality in vegetation biomass after floods indicating the existence of two alternative states, either densely vegetated or bare; (3) facilitation of vegetation establishment by the spatial pattern formation of channels and sand bars. In conclusion, empirical indicators were demonstrated for local alternative stable states in a disturbance-driven ecosystem associated with biogeomorphic feedbacks, which could contribute to the protection and restoration of vegetation in such ecosystems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAdvances in Water Resources
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Feb 1 2015
Externally publishedYes

Fingerprint

floodplain
flooding
vegetation
ecosystem
disturbance
flume experiment
facilitation
alfalfa
seeding
ecosystem service
experiment
seedling
substrate
sand
biomass

Keywords

  • Alternative stable state
  • Biogeomorphic feedback
  • Flooding
  • Floodplain
  • Flume experiment
  • Plant

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology

Cite this

Biogeomorphic feedback between plant growth and flooding causes alternative stable states in an experimental floodplain. / Wang, Chen; Wang, Qiao; Meire, Dieter; Ma, Wandong; Wu, Chuanqing; Meng, Zhen; Van de Koppel, Johan; Troch, Peter A; Verhoeven, Ronny; De Mulder, Tom; Temmerman, Stijn.

In: Advances in Water Resources, 01.02.2015.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Wang, Chen ; Wang, Qiao ; Meire, Dieter ; Ma, Wandong ; Wu, Chuanqing ; Meng, Zhen ; Van de Koppel, Johan ; Troch, Peter A ; Verhoeven, Ronny ; De Mulder, Tom ; Temmerman, Stijn. / Biogeomorphic feedback between plant growth and flooding causes alternative stable states in an experimental floodplain. In: Advances in Water Resources. 2015.
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AU - Meire, Dieter

AU - Ma, Wandong

AU - Wu, Chuanqing

AU - Meng, Zhen

AU - Van de Koppel, Johan

AU - Troch, Peter A

AU - Verhoeven, Ronny

AU - De Mulder, Tom

AU - Temmerman, Stijn

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