Study

Effects of winter cutting and litter removal in restoration of derelict reedmarsh at Blankaart nature reserve, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

  • Published source details Gryseels M. (1989) Nature management experiments in a derelict reedmarsh. I: effects of winter cutting. Biological Conservation, 47, 171-193

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1977–1982 in a freshwater marsh in Belgium (Gryseels 1989) reported that winter-mown plots developed a different plant community to unmown plots, typically with more plant species, higher cover of common reed Phragmites australis and lower cover of two weedy herb species. Statistical significance was not assessed. Over five years, mown and unmown plots contained distinct plant communities (data reported as a graphical analysis). More plant species were recorded in winter-mown plots than unmown plots in 25 of 25 comparisons (mown: 9–29 species/plot; unmown: 4–11 species/plot) – but a larger area was probably sampled in mown plots. The mown plots had higher common reed cover in 20 of 25 comparisons (for which mown: 55–90%; unmown: 25–86%), but lower cover of bindweed Calystegia sepium in 23 of 30 comparisons (for which mown: 5–67%; unmown: 27–84%) and lower cover of common nettle Urtica dioica in 25 of 25 comparisons (for which mown: 3–31%; unmown: 27–86%). Mowing had no clear effect on the frequency of each species (see original paper for data). Total moss cover increased in mown plots, from 0–9% after one annual mow to 18–58% after five annual mows (data for unmown plots not reported). Methods: Five pairs of plots  (each 200–300 m2) were established in areas of degraded, weed-invaded marsh (where “traditional management” had ceased, and which had been partially drained). Each winter between 1977/1978 and 1981/1982, one plot in each pair was mown. The other plots were not mown. Each summer between 1978 and 1982, plant species and their cover were recorded in 3–12 permanent quadrats/plot (quadrat size not reported). Some of the plots in this study may also have been used in (4), but this was not clearly reported.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1977–1982 in a degraded fen in Belgium (Gryseels 1989) reported that resuming winter mowing changed plant community composition, increased species richness and bryophyte cover, and reduced cover of one of three dominant herb species. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Over five years, mown and unmown plots contained distinct plant communities (data reported as a graphical analysis). In mown plots, there were 15–18 species/plot after one mow but 14–24 species/plot after five years of mowing (unmown plots stable at 5–9 species/plot). Total bryophyte cover was 5–15% after one mow but 23–75% after five years (data for unmown plots not reported). Cover of bindweed Calystegia sepium declined in mown plots only (from 11–51% to 1–29%; unmown plots stable at 31–62% cover). Cover of purple small-reed Calamagrostis canescens and common reed Phragmites australis declined in both mown and unmown plots. Three pairs of 100–200 m2 plots were established in areas of partially drained, overgrown fen. Every winter between 1977/1978 and 1981/1982, one plot per pair was mown. The other plots were not mown. Each summer between 1978 and 1982, cover of every plant species was estimated in permanent quadrats (size and number not reported).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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