Effects of grassland management on plant functional trait composition

  • Published source details Kahmen S. & Poschlod P. (2008) Effects of grassland management on plant functional trait composition. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 128, 137-145.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A long-term unreplicated trial from 1975 to 2000 in Baden-Württemberg, Germany (Kahmen & Poschlod 2008) found that all tested treatments: low intensity grazing, mowing-and-mulching (in June or June and August) and winter burning, maintained a variety of types of semi-natural grassland. Plants showed similar functional responses to treatments: grazing encouraged species with small seeds and a persistent seed bank (and woody species, though this was probably due to very low grazing pressure) mulching led to an increase in ground-layer species and winter burning benefited species with storage organs. The authors suggest that this functional approach may help to predict vegetation changes following management. Treatments were applied in 20 x 40 m fields from 1975. Plants were surveyed in one 25 m2 plot/field until 2000 and graded according to 11 functional traits. The study was carried out over 14 sites, characterized by different grassland vegetation types. There were no replicates.


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