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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The significance of management continuity for plant communities in Laelatu calcareous wooded meadow, Lääne, Estonia

Published source details

Aavik T., Jogar U., Liira J., Tulva I. & Zobel M. (2008) Plant diversity in a calcareous wooded meadow - The significance of management continuity. Journal of Vegetation Science, 19, 475-484

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

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study in 2006 on a 35 ha area of an ancient hay field in Lääne, western Estonia (Aavik et al. 2008) found that recovery of the plant community was slow after restoring regular annual mowing. Even though sites were located alongside one another, there were differences in the plant community between plots where annual mowing had been reinstated for five or thirteen years, and sites with continuous annual mowing since the 1960s. Areas without continuous management had fewer plant species. Management history, not soil conditions, was the most important factor determining the number and identity of plant species. Plants were counted in five 1 m² quadrats at 30 sites of known management history in 2006. Three management histories were identified: continuously managed for 200 years and annually mown since the 1960s, irregularly mown every two or three years from the early 1980s to 1993 then annually since 1993 (regular mowing restored 13 years before the study), or unmanaged from the early 1980s until 2000 or 2001 when annual mowing was restored (five or six years before the study). The latter group of sites had become overgrown with trees. Mowing was in late June or early July in each case.