Study

Effects of sowing and management on vegetation succession during grassland habitat restoration

  • Published source details Warren J., Christal A. & Wilson F. (2002) Effects of sowing and management on vegetation succession during grassland habitat restoration. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 93, 393-402.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Graze with livestock after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Mow before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Sow native grass and forbs

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Graze with livestock after seeding/planting

    A replicated study in 1993–1999 in an ex-arable field near Aberdeen, Scotland, UK (Warren et al. 2002) found that grazing with cattle after sowing grass and forb seeds led to a greater number, but lower cover, of sown species compared to grazing with sheep. After six years, plots that were grazed with cattle after seeds were sown had on average more sown species (4.8 species/m²) than plots grazed by sheep after seeds were sown (2.2 species/m²). However, cattle-grazed plots had lower sown species cover (46%) than sheep-grazed plots (91%). In April–May 1993, four 20 x 40 m fenced plots were ploughed and sown with a native seed mix (four grass and 10 forb species sown at a rate of 20 kg/ha). Each year in 1994–1999, two plots were grazed by cattle in May–October, and two plots were grazed by sheep in April–October. Vegetation was monitored annually within twenty 1-m2 quadrats (number of sown species) and ten 0.25-m2 quadrats (cover of sown species) randomly placed in each plot in June 1994–1999.

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

  2. Mow before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated study in 1993–1999 in an ex-arable field near Aberdeen, Scotland, UK (Warren et al. 2002) found that cutting sown plots each year and removing cut vegetation led to a greater number, but lower cover, of sown grass and forb species compared to cutting and not removing cut vegetation. After six years, sown plots that were cut each year and had cuttings removed had on average more sown species (3.4 species/m2) than sown plots that were cut and had cuttings left in place (2.3 species/m2). However, plots with cuttings removed had lower cover of sown species (63%) than plots with cuttings left in place (76%). In April–May 1993, four 20 x 40 m fenced plots were ploughed and sown with a native seed mix (four grass and 10 forb species sown at a rate of 20 kg/ha). Each year in 1994–1999, all plots were cut in early August. Half of the plots had cuttings removed, while half had cuttings left in place. In 1994–1999, vegetation was monitored annually within 20 x 1 m2 quadrats (number of sown species) and 10 x 0.25 m2 quadrats (cover of sown species) randomly placed in each plot.

     

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

  3. Sow native grass and forbs

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1993–1999 in an ex-arable field near Aberdeen, Scotland, UK (Warren et al. 2002) found that sowing native grass and forb seeds led to an increase in the number and cover of sown species. After six years, sown plots on average contained more sown species (4.9 species/m²) and had a greater cover of sown species (97%) than unsown plots (1.8 species/m²; 43%). In April 1993, twelve pairs of plots (each 20 x 40 m) were ploughed and fenced. In May 1993, one plot in each pair was sown with a native seed mix (four grass and 10 forb species sown at a rate of 20 kg/ha), while the other was left unsown. Both plots in each pair received the same grazing and/or cutting treatment each year (six treatments were applied overall; see original paper for details). In June 1994–1999, vegetation was monitored annually within 20 x 1 m2 quadrats (number of sown species) and 10 x 0.25 m2 quadrats (cover of sown species) randomly placed in each of the 24 plots.

     

    (Summarised by: Anna Berthinussen)

  4. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated trial from 1994 to 1990 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland, UK (Warren et al. 2002), found that sowing meadow plants followed by summer cattle grazing achieved the best results in terms of recreating a species-rich grassland on a former arable field last ploughed in 1993. After six years, sown plots on average contained more sown species (4.9 species/m²) and had greater cover of sown species (97%) than non-sown plots (1.8/m², 43%). Cattle grazed plots contained more sown species (4.8/m²) than sheep grazed plots (2.2/m²), but sheep grazed plots had greater sown species cover (91% vs 46%). August cut plots with cuttings removed had more sown species but lower cover than plots with cuttings left (3.4 vs 2.3/m², 63% vs 76%, respectively). Twenty-four 20 x 40 m fenced plots were either sown with ten herb and four grass species from a crested dog’s tail Cynosurus cristatus-lesser knapweed Centaurea nigra (UK National Vegetation Classification MG5) grazed hay meadow community or not sown after ploughing in April 1993. Within these treatments, six management treatments were tested: sheep or cattle summer grazing, cut in June with aftermath grazing by sheep or cattle, or cut in August with cuttings either left or removed. No plots were cut in August with aftermath grazing.

     

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