Environmental Studies Program


Date of this Version

Spring 5-2012


Wetland managers sometimes estimate seed production of wetlands managed for migrating waterfowl habitat. Using estimation techniques, managers can determine if wetland plants produce enough seed to support the nutritional needs of migrating waterfowl. Usually, a one-time sampling method is used; this technique samples seeds once a year during peak seed production. However, this technique may underestimate seed production due to plants producing large quantities of seed before or after peak seed production or producing seed throughout the growing season. Season long sampling may be more representative of a wetland’s seed production. We comparing one-time sampling with season- long sampling by setting up and sampling seeds from plots; one plot was sampling once every two weeks; the other plot was sampled once during peak seed production.

Overall, we found that one-time sampling tends to underestimate seed production relative to season long sampling. If a wetland contains large quantities of early-seeding species, late-seeding species, or species with indetermination growth, the season long sampling technique may be more representative of a wetland’s seed production. If the wetland is dominated by species that produce most of their seed during peak seed production, the one- time sampling method is efficient at capturing a wetland’s seed production.