Faculty Publications


Effectiveness of cattail (Typha spp.) management techniques depends on exogenous nitrogen inputs

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Fire, Herbicide, Mowing, Nitrogen, Restoration, Typha

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Wetlands occupy a position in the landscape that makes them vulnerable to the effects of current land use and the legacies of past land use. Many wetlands in agricultural regions like the North American Midwest are strongly affected by elevated nutrient inputs as well as high rates of invasion by the hybrid cattail Typha × glauca. These two stressors also exacerbate each other: increased nutrients increase invasion success, and invasions increase nutrient retention and nutrient loads in the wetland. This interaction could create a positive feedback that would inhibit efforts to manage and control invasions, but little is known about the effects of past or present nutrient inputs on wetland invasive plant management. We augmented a previously-published community-ecosystem model (Mondrian) to simulate the most common invasive plant management tools: burning, mowing, and herbicide application. We then simulated different management strategies and 3 different durations in low and high nutrient input conditions, and found that the most effective management strategy and duration depends strongly on the amount of nutrients entering the wetland. In high-nutrient wetlands where invasions were most successful, a combination of herbicide and fire was most effective at reducing invasion. However, in low-nutrient wetlands this approach did little to reduce invasion. A longer treatment duration (6 years) was generally better than a 1-year treatment in high-nutrient wetlands, but was generally worse than the 1-year treatment in low-nutrient wetlands. At the ecosystem level, we found that management effects were relatively modest: there was little effect of management on ecosystem C storage, and while some management strategies decreased wetland nitrogen retention, this effect was transient and disappeared shortly after management ceased. Our results suggest that considering nutrient inputs in invaded wetlands can inform and improve management, and reducing nutrient inputs is an important component of an effective management strategy.


Department of Biology

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DOI of published version



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