Main content area

Relationships Between Derived Vegetation Gradients and Measured Environmental Variables in Saskatchewan Wetlands

Walker, B. H., Wehrhahn, C. F.
Ecology 1971 v.52 no.1 pp. 85-95
biogeography, environmental factors, marshes, nutrient availability, principal component analysis, salinity, variance, vegetation, Saskatchewan
Thirty—four relatively undisturbed stands of vegetation in shallow marsh, nonto slightly saline wetlands in south—central Saskatchewan were examined with respect to environmental influence on species distribution. Four environmental gradients account for the bulk of variation in the vegetation in the vegetation. They are, in decreasing order of importance, disturbance (despite the fact that all stands chosen are relatively undisturbed), available nutrients, water regime, and salinity. The greatest variation in the data from these stands as a whole is in their salinity, but this is not reflected in the vegetation. The correlation between water regime and available nutrients is negative. A number of other factors show minor correlations with the vegetation and with each other. The method of application of principal components analysis used in this study was a valuable aid in the interpretation of the data. It provides estimates of the proportions of (1) the variance associated with each principal component and (2) the total variation in the vegetation data that can be assigned to variation in the environmental measurements.