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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Efficacy of sod removal in regenerating fen vegetation for the conservation of the marsh fritillary butterfly Euphydryas aurinia, Montiaghs Moss Nature Reserve, County Antrim, Northern Ireland

Published source details

Reid N. & McEvoy P.M. (2009) Efficacy of sod removal in regenerating fen vegetation for the conservation of the marsh fritillary butterfly Euphydryas aurinia, Montiaghs Moss Nature Reserve, County Antrim, Northern Ireland. Conservation Evidence, 6, 31-38


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

Remove upper layer of peat/soil (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2006–2008 in a degraded, grassy fen in Northern Ireland, UK (Reid & McEvoy 2009) found that plots stripped of surface peat had greater plant species richness than unstripped plots after two years, greater cover of rushes Juncus spp. and sedges Carex spp., but less cover of total vegetation and purple moor grass Molinia caerulea. Stripped plots contained more species/0.5 m2 than unstripped plots (5.1 vs 3.9) and had greater cover of rushes (55 vs 2%) and sedges (13 vs <1%). However, stripped plots had less cover than unstripped plots of vegetation in total (65 vs 100%) and purple moor grass (11 vs 78%). Results were similar after one year, with the exception of species richness which did not differ significantly between stripped and unstripped plots (3.6 vs 3.9 species/0.5 m2). In autumn 2006, four pairs of 5 x 5 m plots were established in a fen dominated by moor grass. Surface peat (15 cm depth) and vegetation were stripped from one plot in each pair, but not from the other. In July 2007 and October 2008, cover of every plant species was estimated in eight 70 x 70 cm quadrats/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)