Study

Restoration of a Cirsio-Molinietum fen meadow on an agriculturally improved pasture

  • 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.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Remove topsoil or turf before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Add mulch before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Restore or create traditional water meadows

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Remove topsoil or turf before seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1994–1999 in a species-poor wet pasture in the UK (Tallowin & Smith 2001) found that removing topsoil before planting seedlings led to higher cover of planted species and lower cover of common knapweed Centaurea nigra compared to planting without topsoil removal. No statistical analyses were carried out in this study. Cover of planted Cirsio-Molinietum species was higher in plots where topsoil was removed before planting (41–68%) than in plots where topsoil was not removed before planting (29–40%). Cover of common knapweed was lower in plots where topsoil was removed before planting (5–12%) than in plots where topsoil was not removed (50–68%). In May 1994, ten 2 x 2 m plots were rotovated. Topsoil was removed to a depth of 15–20 cm in five plots, while topsoil was not removed in the five other plots. In May 1995, all plots were sprayed with glyphosate herbicide and seedlings of 14 species planted. Cover of all species was assessed in each plot every year between 1997 and 1999.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Add mulch before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1994–1999 in a species-poor wet pasture in the UK (Tallowin & Smith 2001) found that adding mulch before planting seedlings led to lower cover of planted species and similar cover of common knapweed Centaurea nigra compared to planting without mulch. No statistical analyses were carried out in this study. Cover of planted Cirsio-Molinietum species was lower in plots where mulch was added before planting (22–34%) than in plots where mulch was not added before planting (29–40%). Cover of common knapweed was similar in plots where mulch was added (54–67%) or not added (50–68%) before planting. In May 1994, ten 2 x 2 m plots were rotovated. Cereal straw was added as a mulch to five plots, while five other plots were left unmulched. In May 1995, all plots were sprayed with glyphosate herbicide and seedlings of 14 species were planted. Cover of all species was assessed in each plot every year between 1997 and 1999.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  3. 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.

     

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