Study

Potential for the development of marsh vegetation from the seed bank after a drawdown

  • Published source details ter Heerdt G.N.J. & Drost H.J. (1994) Potential for the development of marsh vegetation from the seed bank after a drawdown. Biological Conservation, 67, 1-11.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Lower water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Lower water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

    A before-and-after study in 1987–1992 of a freshwater lake in the Netherlands (ter Heerdt & Drost 1994) reported that following drawdown of the water level, emergent wetland vegetation colonized. Cover of vegetation overall and of individual plant species depended on elevation and length of drawdown. For example, the highest, driest zone (exposed from March/April 1987) developed 63% total vegetation cover after one growing season. It was dominated by broadleaf cattail Typha latifolia (53% of total). After four years, total cover was 103% and the dominant species was great willowherb Epilobium hirsutum (63% of total). The lowest, wettest zone (exposed from April/July 1988) developed 16% total cover after one growing season. It was dominated by swamp ragwort Senecio congestus (87% of total). After four years, total cover was 36% and the dominant species was toad rush Juncus bufonius (28% of total). Zones at intermediate elevation developed 87–109% total cover after four years, dominated by common reed Phragmites australis (51–94% of total). Methods: The water level of Groteplas Lake was lowered from 1987, gradually exposing formerly flooded areas. The highest shoreline zones (with some islands of emergent vegetation before drawdown) were exposed in 1987. The lowest zones (no emergent vegetation before drawdown) were exposed in 1988. Cover of each plant species and vegetation overall were recorded along transects in exposed areas after 1–4 growing seasons (September/October 1987–1992).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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