Transference of semi-natural grassland and marshland onto newly created landfill

  • Published source details Worthington T.R. & Helliwell D.R. (1987) Transference of semi-natural grassland and marshland onto newly created landfill. Biological Conservation, 41, 301-311.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Transplant or replace blocks of vegetation: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Transplant or replace blocks of vegetation: freshwater marshes

    A before-and-after study in 1980–1986 of a patch of freshwater marsh vegetation in England, UK (Worthington & Helliwell 1987) reported that transplanting vegetation from one site to another (then grazing, cutting and pulling up weeds) had little long-term effect on plant species richness. Unless specified, statistical significance was not assessed. The vegetation contained 54 species before transplanting and 49 species six years after. Thirty-six species were present both before and after transplanting. Small-scale richness was significantly higher one year after transplanting (16 species/m2) than before (11 species/m2), but returned to approximately 11 species/m2 after six years. The most frequently recorded species before intervention were clustered dock Rumex conglomeratus (in 100% of quadrats), creeping buttercup Ranunculus repens (92%) and yellow iris Iris pseudacorus (75%). The most frequently recorded species after intervention were tufted grass Holcus lanatus (92%) and yellow iris (83%). Methods: In late 1980, around 1.5 ha of marsh vegetation (along with 2.8 ha of other vegetation) was transplanted from one site earmarked for gravel mining. The new site, 400 m away, was excavated to suitable elevations, then 6-m2 blocks of vegetation and soil were transplanted. Post-transplant management involved annual grazing, pulling up docks Rumex spp. and intermittent cutting. Pumps maintained a high water table. The marsh vegetation was surveyed in twelve 1-m2 quadrats before (October 1980) and after (October 1981 and 1986) intervention.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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