Topsoil removal and planting of seedlings, rather than seeds, assisted the restoration of a Cirsio-Molinietum meadow over four years in the UK

  • Published source details Tallowin J.R.B. & Smith R.E.N. (2001) Restoration of a Cirsio-Molinietum Fen Meadow on an Agriculturally Improved Pasture. Restoration Ecology, 9, 167-178


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 replicated, controlled, randomized study of a species-poor agriculturally improved pasture in the UK (Tallowin & Smith 2001) found that topsoil removal and planting of seedlings, rather than seeds, resulted in establishment of species typical of a fen meadow plant community (Cirsio-Molinietum: purple moor grass Molinia caerulea-meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum community) over four years. When seedlings were planted, combined cover by Cirsio-Molinietum species was highest in treatments with topsoil removal (up to 75% in year four). Where topsoil was not removed, vegetation was dominated by a few competitive species such as common knapweed Centaurea nigra (up to 60% cover). Two years after sowing seeds from a Cirsio-Molinietum meadow, only three of the 17 species had established at more than trace amounts (combined cover of 8%). Treatments to reduce site fertility included cutting and removal of vegetation, cultivation, fallowing and topsoil removal (10-20 cm) and addition of straw and/or lignitic clay. Randomized block experiments were established with treatments applied to plots of 9 x 2 m where seeds were sown (1989-1992) and 2 x 2 m where seedlings of 14 species were planted (1994-1999). Plant composition of plots was sampled in June 1992 and 1997-1999.


Output references

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