Sawdust addition reduces the productivity of nitrogen-enriched mountain grasslands

  • Published source details Spiegelberger T., Muller-Scharer H., Matthies D. & Schaffner U. (2009) Sawdust addition reduces the productivity of nitrogen-enriched mountain grasslands. Restoration Ecology, 17, 865-872.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated, controlled study of ten nitrogen-rich grasslands heavily populated with white hellebore Veratrum album in Switzerland (Spiegelberger et al. 2009) found that sawdust addition had limited effects on mountain grassland communities. Sawdust addition reduced grass cover slightly (grazed control 51%, grazed plus sawdust 48%, ungrazed control 48%, ungrazed plus sawdust 42%) but plant diversity and species richness were unaffected, with species richness generally increasing with decreasing productivity in grazed and ungrazed areas. Above-ground grass and broadleaved plant biomass (excluding white hellebore) was 20-25% lower in sawdust plots and biomass of white hellebore slightly higher, compared to controls. Number of shoots was not influenced by sawdust (control 21 shoots, sawdust 27 shoots). Paired plots (6 x 3 m) were established, one cattle-grazed, the other not. From 2002 to 2004, sawdust (from local beech trees Fagus sylvatica) was hand spread over half of each plot (0.5 kg/m2/month) over three months. Above ground (1 cm) biomass samples were taken in autumn 2004 (white hellebore shoots also counted) and spring 2005. Cover of each plant species in central 2 x 2 m quadrats was also recorded in summer 2002 and spring 2005.


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