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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Annual mowing and frequent flooding promote vegetation species richness on former natural floodplains of the River Demer, Limburg and Vlaams-Brabant, Belgium

Published source details

Gerard M., El Kahloun M., Rymen J., Beauchard O. & Meire P. (2008) Importance of mowing and flood frequency in promoting species richness in restored floodplains. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 1780-1789


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Remove flood defence banks to allow inundation Farmland Conservation

A study of two meadows in adjacent nature reserves on former natural floodplains of the River Demer, Belgium (Gerard et al. 2008) found that mowing and flooding meadows resulted in increased plant diversity. Mown, frequently flooded plots had higher plant species richness (average 16 species/plot) than non-mown, frequently flooded (10 species) or mown, infrequently flooded (12 species) plots. Overall, there was a significant negative correlation between species richness and standing crop. Data were obtained from two reserves: one frequently flooded (150 ha, flooded at least once a year for 5-50 days) and one (600 ha) in which part is infrequently inundated (about once every 5 years). In each reserve, 10 plots (2 x 2 m) were randomly selected in annually June-mown fields, and five in non-mown fields. Plant species composition was recorded in each in early July 2005 and standing biomass mid-end of July.

 

Maintain traditional water meadows (includes management for breeding and/or wintering waders/waterfowl) Farmland Conservation

A study of two floodplain meadows in adjacent nature reserves on former natural floodplains of the River Demer, Belgium (Gerard et al. 2008) found that mowing and flooding meadows resulted in increased plant diversity. Mown, frequently flooded plots had higher plant species richness (average 16 species/plot) than non-mown, frequently flooded (10 species) or mown, infrequently flooded (12 species) plots. Mown sites had higher numbers of smaller species, non-mown sites had more tall grasses. Average standing crop (range: 492-654g/m²/year) was significantly lower in mown sites compared to non-mown sites. Overall, there was a significant negative correlation between species richness and standing crop. Data were obtained from two reserves: one frequently flooded (150 ha; flooded at least once a year for 5-50 days) and one (600 ha) in which part is infrequently inundated (about once every 5 years). In each reserve, 10 plots (2 x 2 m) were randomly selected in annually June-mown fields, and five in non-mown fields. Plant species composition was recorded in each in early July 2005 and standing biomass mid-end of July.