Freshwater Wetland dynamics in South Kingstown, Rhode Island, 1939-1972

Document Type


Date of Original Version



The extent and causes of changes in the fresh-water wetlands of South Kingstown, Rhode Island were determined through field work and through the analysis of panchromatic aerial photographs taken in 1939 and 1972. During this period, there was a net loss of 0.9 percent of the total area (2345.2 ha) of wetland present in 1939. Highway construction and residential development accounted for most of this loss. Approximately 17 percent of the wetland present in 1939 had changed sufficiently by 1972 to warrant reclassification. Plant succession alone accounted for 57 percent of the changes in wetland types, while man's activities were influential in 41 percent of the cases. Ninety-two percent of the natural changes in wetland types was progressive, while 58 percent of the changes induced by man and undetermined causes was retrogressive. Man's major role was to alter the water regimes and vegetation of wetlands. There was a decrease in wetland diversity as the most abundant type, wooded swamp, grew in area while the abundance of shallow marshes, meadows, and shrub swamps declined. A knowledge of wetland dynamics is essential in the management of wetlands for a diversity of wildlife and other natural values. © 1981 Springer-Verlag New York Inc.

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Environmental Management