Study

Severe soil disturbance leads to better establishment of species-rich grassland plants in restoration experiments in England and Wales

  • Published source details Hopkins A., Pywell R.F., Peel S. & Johnson S.W. (1999) Enhancement of botanical diversity of permanent grassland and impact on hay production in Environmentally Sensitive Areas in the UK. Grass and Forage Science, 54, 163-173

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated, controlled trial on six Environmentally Sensitive Area sites in England and Wales (Hopkins et al. 1999) found that sowing 35 to 40 plant species increased the number of broadleaved plant species on all sites relative to the control and the number of grass species increased on five of the six sites by the second year. The sowing treatments with the most soil disturbance; rotavating and de-turfing, established the most species. In year one, there was an average of seven broadleaved species and seven grass species on the control plots, compared to sixteen broadleaved species and ten grass species on the deturfed treatment, which had the strongest increase in species richness. The trial was carried out in 1994 on 6 x 4 m plots monitored for the following two years, with four replicates of each treatment on each farm. Seven species were successfully introduced by some or all treatments on all sites: yarrow Achillea millefolium, oxeye daisy Leucanthemum vulgare, self-heal Prunella vulgaris and ribwort plantain Plantago lanceolata, black knapweed Centaurea nigra, bird’s-foot trefoil Lotus corniculatus and cat’s ear Hypochoeris radicata. Other species, including yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor, failed to establish.

     

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