The role of seed-bank and sown seeds in the restoration of an English flood-meadow

  • Published source details McDonald A.W. (1993) The role of seed-bank and sown seeds in the restoration of an English flood-meadow. Journal of Vegetation Science, 4, 395-400.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore or create traditional water meadows

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore or create traditional water meadows

    A before-and-after study over one year on agricultural land that had been intensively managed in Oxfordshire, UK (McDonald 1993) found that sowing seeds from a nearby species-rich flood meadow aided restoration of the flood meadow. The existing seed bank contained 38 species (66% perennial and 34% annual species), of which only 55% were grassland species, including nine species of wet grassland. Following seed sowing in 1986, 43 species were recorded at the site, of which 61% were perennial and 39% annual species. Of the 53 species that did not germinate, 77% were grassland species, of which six were wet grassland species. To determine the existing seed bank, 12 stratified random soil samples (5000 cm³) were taken from the top 10 cm of recently ploughed soil in April 1986. Twenty-five subsamples (200 cm³) were taken from each and seeds were germinated and identified. Following harvest, seeds that had been harvested from a nearby species-rich flood meadow (Oxey Mead SSSI) in July were sown in October 1986. Plant species presence/absence was recorded in twelve 5 x 5 m quadrats in June 1987.


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