One critical component of any wetland restoration program is reliably documenting temporal changes in the spatial extent, pattern, and proportion of plant communities within the landscape. This study describes the development of a 2003 baseline vegetation map for a 42,635 ha wetland impoundment located in the northern portion of the remnant Everglades, Florida. Vegetation communities were photointerpreted and mapped with a ¼ ha minimum mapping grid unit from 1:24,000 scale color infrared aerial photography utilizing 1st order analytical stereo-plotters. Results show an impoundment that has significantly changed in comparison to an earlier 1940s mapping effort. These included the loss of most of the tree island habitat and the establishment of large expanses of invasive cattail adjacent to and downstream of inflow structures with 28% of the grid cells containing cattail. Our techniques will be very useful in evaluating Everglade's restoration and are applicable to wetlands around the world.
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Vol. 28 • No. 3