Study

Effects of summer mowing to restore derelict reedmarsh, the Blankaart nature reserve, West-Vlaanderen, Belgium

  • Published source details Gryseels M. (1989) Nature management experiments in a derelict reedmarsh. II: effects of summer mowing. Biological Conservation, 48, 85-99

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 before-and-after study in 1978–1986 in a freshwater marsh in Belgium (Gryseels 1989) reported that following the reinstatement of summer mowing, the plant community composition changed, species richness increased and cover of dominant herbs decreased. Statistical significance was not assessed. Over eight years, the overall plant community composition in the mown plot changed (data reported as a graphical analysis). The plot contained 15 plant species before mowing, compared to 25 species after seven years of mowing. Typical wet meadow species were only present after mowing (not quantified). Over the same time period, cover of the dominant herb species decreased: common reed Phragmites australis from 82% to 30%, bindweed Calystegia sepium from 66% to 7%, purple small-reed Calamagrostis canescens from 51% to 24%, and common nettle Urtica dioica from 24% to 1%. However, only common nettle occurred in fewer quadrats after eight years of mowing than before (decline from 75% to 18%). Common reed and bindweed maintained near 100% frequency, and the frequency of purple small-reed increased from 18% to 75%. Methods: Each summer between 1979 and 1985, one 225-m2 plot in a degraded, reed-dominated marsh (where “traditional management” had ceased, and which had been partially drained) was mown (once or twice per year). Cuttings were removed. In July 1978–1982 and 1986 (before mowing when applicable), plant species and their cover were recorded in 12 permanent quadrats in the plot (quadrat size not reported). The plot 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 before-and-after study in 1978–1986 in a degraded fen in Belgium (Gryseels 1989) reported that following the reinstatement of summer mowing, the plant community composition changed, species richness increased and cover of dominant herbs decreased. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Over eight years, the overall plant community composition in mown plots changed (data reported as a graphical analysis). There were 12–15 plant species/plot before mowing but 23–32 species/plot after seven years of mowing. Cover of the dominant herb species decreased: common reed Phragmites australis in two of three plots (from 66–82% to 14–30%), purple small-reed Calamagrostis canescens in two of three plots (from 51–80% to 24–27%), bindweed Calystegia sepium in all three plots (from 17–66% to 3–18%). Each summer between 1979 and 1985, three plots (200–300 m2) in areas of partially drained, overgrown fen were mown once or twice. Cuttings were removed. Each summer between 1978 and 1986, cover of every plant species was estimated in permanent quadrats (size and number not reported).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

Output references

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, terrestrial mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 18

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.


Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust