Soil seed banks and the effect of meadow management on vegetation change in a 10-year meadow field trial

  • Published source details Smith R.S., Shiel R.S., Millward D., Corkhill P. & Sanderson R.A. (2002) Soil seed banks and the effect of meadow management on vegetation change in a 10-year meadow field trial. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, 279-293.


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

    In the same replicated study described in (Smith et al. 2000) in North Yorkshire, UK (Smith et al. 2002), plots sown with grassland species had more plant species in the vegetation, and plots cut in July had more plant species in the seed bank, ten years after the restoration began. There were 22 species/m2 in sown plots compared to 18 species/m2 on unsown plots. Of three species sown in 1999, only bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus was found frequently in 2000. A single plant each of quaking grass Briza media and bulbous buttercup Ranunculus bulbosus (both also sown in 1999) were found. The upper 5 cm of soil held viable seeds of on average 13 species in plots always cut in July, <12 species in plots previously cut in September and 10 species in plots previously cut in June. From September 1990-1998, the experiment combined grazing, cutting date and fertilizer level treatments in 6 x 3 m plots (three replicates of each). From 1998 onwards, all plots were cut on 21 July, with both autumn and spring grazing. From 1999, plots were either treated with farmyard manure at 12 tonnes/ha/yr in April, or not. The soil seed bank was monitored from soil cores in July 1998, and the vegetation surveyed in June/July 2000.

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