Abstract: The purpose of this research was to 1) determine the extent to which Alnus incana ssp. rugosa (speckled alder) dominates wetlands of the Adirondack Mountain region of New York State; 2) describe the floristic composition of these wetlands; and 3) determine if alder density affected N accumulation in wetlands.
Alder/willow wetlands are the second most common wetland type in the Adirondack region. The Adirondack Park Agency’s digital GIS wetland database was used to determine the areal extent of alder/willow wetlands in the Adirondacks (~5% of total area). Randomly selected wetlands were sampled for alder size and abundance. Alder densities averaged ~7,000 stems ha-1 and alder was present in 75% of the wetlands.
Ion exchange resins and groundwater samples from wetlands of high alder density, low alder density and lacking alder were analyzed for NH4+ and NO3-. Wetlands with high alder density had approximately six times higher NO3- concentration than the other wetland types.