EPA Science Inventory

SLOSS or Not? Factoring Wetland Size Into Decisions for Wetland Conservation, Enhancement, Restoration, and Creation

Citation:

Detenbeck, N. SLOSS or Not? Factoring Wetland Size Into Decisions for Wetland Conservation, Enhancement, Restoration, and Creation. National Wetlands Newsletter. Environmental Law Institute, Washington, DC, 35(5):15-17, (2013).

Description:

Mitigation or replacement of several small impacted wetlands or sites with fewer large wetlands can occur deliberately through the application of functional assessment methods (e.g., Adamus 1997) or coincidentally as the result of market-based mechanisms for wetland mitigation banking (Bendor et al 2009). Adoption of the concept that “bigger was better” was influenced by general knowledge of diversity-area curves from island biogeography, minimum area requirements for key species, and the logic that larger wetlands would have a greater capacity for flood reduction and nutrient retention. In the decades since the inception of the SLOSS (single large or several small) nature reserve debates, we have learned more about relationships between wetland area and wetland functions, and how these relationships depend on landscape context, watershed attributes, wetland position, wetland hydrogeomorphic type, specific wetland function, and biotic community type or key species targeted for protection. This overview reviews the current knowledge on these relationships. The discussion articles following this overview will address how these relationships should be factored into assessing wetland conservation successes.

Purpose/Objective:

This is an invited contribution to the National Wetlands Newsletter. Mitigation or replacement of several small impacted wetlands or sites with fewer large wetlands can occur deliberately through the application of functional assessment methods (e.g., Adamus 1997) or coincidentally as the result of market-based mechanisms for wetland mitigation banking (Bendor et al 2009). Adoption of the concept that “bigger was better” was influenced by general knowledge of diversity-area curves from island biogeography, minimum area requirements for key species, and the logic that larger wetlands would have a greater capacity for flood reduction and nutrient retention. In the decades since the inception of the SLOSS (single large or several small) nature reserve debates, we have learned more about relationships between wetland area and wetland functions, and how these relationships depend on landscape context, watershed attributes, wetland position, wetland hydrogeomorphic type, specific wetland function, and biotic community type or key species targeted for protection. This overview reviews the current knowledge on these relationships. The discussion articles following this overview will address how these relationships should be factored into assessing wetland conservation successes.

URLs/Downloads:

aedlibrary@epa.gov

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (JOURNAL/PEER REVIEWED JOURNAL)
Start Date: 12/04/2013
Completion Date: 12/04/2013
Record Last Revised: 01/08/2014
Record Created: 12/04/2013
Record Released: 12/04/2013
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 264091

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

WATERSHED DIAGNOSTICS BRANCH