By Josh Pike
Pagosa Wetland Partners
Fall plant activity in the Riverwalk wetlands is driven by the process of seed distribution. As plants die back or die off, they ensure that their physical structures maintain the integrity needed to produce seeds. At the same time, birds and mammals rummage through the wetland vegetation to locate the last fruits and hoard seeds for the winter.
The seeds spreading through the wetlands are dispersed through several mechanisms, involving forces from wind to animals. In return, this distribution of seeds benefits the animals that spread them, with many being reliant on the fruits and seeds they gather for winter nutrition. Successful seed dispersal involves the plants, animals and weather of the wetlands working in concert toward a mutually beneficial end. Without all these players, the health of the wetlands would begin to falter as plants could not spread and the animals that rely on them would struggle.
Thus, preserving the health of the wetlands requires protecting all its species and the integrity of the relationships between them. The photos and captions that accompany this story show some of the specific mechanisms plants use to distribute their seeds in the wetlands.
If you want to learn more about the Riverwalk wetlands, you can contact the Pagosa Wetland Partners at firstname.lastname@example.org.