Wetland Restoration with Hydrophytes: A Review

Plants (Basel). 2021 May 21;10(6):1035. doi: 10.3390/plants10061035.


Restoration cases with hydrophytes (those which develop all their vital functions inside the water or very close to the water surface, e.g., flowering) are less abundant compared to those using emergent plants. Here, I synthesize the latest knowledge in wetland restoration based on revegetation with hydrophytes and stress common challenges and potential solutions. The review mainly focusses on natural wetlands but also includes information about naturalized constructed wetlands, which nowadays are being used not only to improve water quality but also to increase biodiversity. Available publications, peer-reviewed and any public domain, from the last 20 years, were reviewed. Several countries developed pilot case-studies and field-scale projects with more or less success, the large-scale ones being less frequent. Using floating species is less generalized than submerged species. Sediment transfer is more adequate for temporary wetlands. Hydrophyte revegetation as a restoration tool could be improved by selecting suitable wetlands, increasing focus on species biology and ecology, choosing the suitable propagation and revegetation techniques (seeding, planting). The clear negative factors which prevent the revegetation success (herbivory, microalgae, filamentous green algae, water and sediment composition) have to be considered. Policy-making and wetland restoration practices must more effectively integrate the information already known, particularly under future climatic scenarios.

Keywords: aquatic phanerogams; charophytes; constructed wetlands; floating macrophytes; natural wetlands; planting; revegetation; sediment transfer; seeding; submerged macrophytes; transplanting.

Publication types

  • Review