A review of the success of commonly used wet meadow restoration methods (rewetting, topsoil removal, and diaspore addition) in Western Europe

  • Published source details Klimkowska A., Van Diggelen R., Bakker J.P. & Grootjans A.P. (2007) A review of the success of commonly used wet meadow restoration methods (rewetting, topsoil removal, and diaspore addition) in Western Europe. Biological Conservation, 140, 318-328.


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 2007 review of data from 36 wet meadows, in the Netherlands (majority), Germany and the UK (Klimkowska et al. 2007) found that restoration attempts have largely had limited success. On average, projects have resulted in an average increase in species richness below 10% of the target community. The more species-rich the meadow was at the start, the closer it was to the target community after restoration, however, there was a corresponding smaller increase in the number of target species. A combination of topsoil removal (deeper than 20 cm) and introducing seedlings (e.g. see (Patzelt et al. 2001, Verhagen et al. 2001, Hölzel & Otte 2003)) and a combination of these with rewetting, appeared most effective (an increase in ‘saturation index’ of up to 16%; this index reflects the completeness of restored communities in comparison to target communities). Rewetting alone appeared an ineffective restoration method. Data were obtained from professional networks, experts, peer-reviewed published sources and project records.


Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust