Sedges In Ecosystems
Sedges are an important component of the plant communities of many types of natural habitats, particularly in marshes, swamps, and the shallow-water habitats along the edges of streams, ponds, and lakes. Because sedges are a relatively nutritious food for grazing animals, places rich in these plants are an important type of habitat for many types of herbivorous animals. These can range from the multitudinous species of insects and other invertebrates that feed on sedges, to much larger grazing animals such as elk (Cervus canadensis), white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) and other herbivores. Even grizzly bears (Ursus arctos) will feed intensively on sedges at certain times of the year when other sources of nutrition are not abundant, for example, in the springtime after the bear has emerged from its winter hibernation.
Sedges and their relatives can sometimes dominate extensive tracts of vegetation, especially in places where shallow-water wetlands have developed on relatively flat terrain. For example, the extensive marshes and wet prairies of the Everglades of south Florida are dominated by the sawgrass (Cladium jamaicensis), a member of the sedge family.