Individual study: Seed and (micro)site limitation in ditch banks: Germination, establishment and survival under different management regimes
Blomqvist M.M., Tamis W. L. M., Bakker J. P. & van der Meijden E. (2006) Seed and (micro)site limitation in ditch banks: Germination, establishment and survival under different management regimes. Journal for Nature Conservation, 14, 16-33
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Manage ditches to benefit wildlife
A replicated controlled study of species sown on ditch banks on six farms in the western peat district of the Netherlands (Blomqvist et al. 2006) found that, overall, there was no significant difference between overall species or species-level germination and establishment, plant survival or reproduction (flowering/seed-setting) under three cutting regimes. However, on high-productivity ditch banks, germination (7% vs 4-5%), establishment (20% vs 7-15%) and reproduction (21-39% vs 15-27%) of many species were higher under ‘conventional management’ than the three cutting treatments. On low-productivity ditch banks, plants tended to have lower survival under ‘conventional management’ (60% vs 70-80%) and higher reproduction under ‘conventional management’ and with the first cut in May (33-40% vs 23-26%). One ditch bank was selected on each farm and was divided into four treatments, each with five replicates: two cuts (July and September), three cuts (June, August, September), two cuts (May, September), ‘conventional management’ (standard cutting and grazing - varied between farms). A mown/artificial gap (15 x 15 cm) was created for each of the nine species in each plot. Approximately 100 seeds were sown of each species in October 2001. Numbers of seedlings and established plants (≥4 cm) were monitored each month until September 2003. Biomass samples were collected from plots (20 x 50 cm) in July 2001 (pre-treatment biomass) and before each mowing event in 2002–2003; dry weights were recorded.