Action: Cover the ground using techniques other than plastic mats after restoration planting
- One replicated, randomized, controlled study in the USA found that covering the ground with mulch after planting increased total plant cover.
Harvesting and replanting have substantial effects on forest biodiversity conservation and maintenance of long-term productivity. Covering the ground using different techniques can increase the establishment success of planted trees by conserving soil moisture and reducing weed growth and competition.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1991-1995 in a degraded temperate coniferous forest in Idaho, USA (Walsh & Redente 2011) found that covering the ground after restoration planting had mixed effects or no effect on vegetation cover depending on material used. Total plant cover was higher in plots covered with local redtop hay (46-49%) and erosion control blanket (50-54%) than plots covered with wood-fiber hydro mulch (33-35%) or uncovered (32-35%). Each of four covering treatments: local redtop hay (at 4.5 x 103 kg/ha), erosion control blanket (consisting of wood shavings of aspen and alder placed between two plastic nets), wood-fiber hydro mulch (applied at a rate of 1,682 kg/ha) and uncovered was applied in 1991 to four plots (3 × 10 m) at each of two hilltop sites. All plots were planted with western white pine Pinus monticola trees, shrubs and grasses before treatments in 1991. Vegetation cover was measured in 1995.