Study

The effects of conservation management of reed beds. II. The flora and litter disappearance

  • Published source details Cowie N.R., Sutherland W.J., Ditlhogo M.K.M. & James R. (1992) The effects of conservation management of reed beds. II. The flora and litter disappearance. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 277-284.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1988 in a reedbed in England, UK (Cowie et al. 1992) reported that burned plots contained more, shorter and thicker reed stems than unburned plots after one growing season, and had higher plant richness but not diversity. After 3–5 months, burned plots contained a higher density of reed stems (736 stems/m2) than unburned plots (484 stems/m2). On average, reed stems were shorter but thicker in burned plots (143 cm tall; 3.7 mm diameter) than unburned plots (177 cm tall; 3.5 mm diameter). Burned plots also had higher plant species richness than unburned plots (data reported but units not clear) but statistically similar diversity (data reported as a diversity index). Of 17 common plant species for which data were reported, 16 were more frequent in burned plots than in unburned plots (statistical significance not assessed; see original paper for data). Methods: Five pairs of 30 x 40 m plots were established in a reedbed that had not been managed for ≥10 years. In March 1988, one random plot/pair was burned. The other plots were left unmanaged. All plots were flooded from April 1988. Vegetation was surveyed in July and August 1988. Live and dead reed stems were counted, and plant species were recorded, in 0.25-m2 quadrats (number not clear). Forty live reed stems/plot were measured. This summary takes some contextual and methodological details from Ditlhogo et al. (1992).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 1988 of reedbeds in 12 sites in England, UK (Cowie et al. 1992) found that cut reedbeds had a significantly higher density of reed stems than uncut reedbeds, but also had significantly greater plant species richness and diversity (data not reported). Of 42 common, non-reed plant species for which data were reported, 25 were significantly more frequent in cut reedbeds (present in 2–93% of samples) than in uncut reedbeds (in 0–44% of samples). Three species were significantly less frequent in cut reedbeds (in <1–10% of samples) than in uncut reedbeds (in 4–23% of samples). Methods: In July and August 1988, vegetation was surveyed in two adjacent reedbeds in each of 12 sites. One reedbed/site had been cut “regularly” for 20 years (cuttings were removed), with the other unmanaged (neither cut nor burned) for ≥3 years. Reed stems (both live and dead) were counted in twenty 0.25-m2 quadrats/reedbed. Plant species were recorded in each quarter of each quadrat.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  3. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1988 in a reedbed in England, UK (Cowie et al. 1992) found that cut plots contained more (but shorter and slightly thicker) reed stems than uncut plots after one growing season, but similar plant richness and diversity. After 3–5 months, cut plots contained a higher density of reed stems (720 stems/m2) than uncut plots (484 stems/m2). On average, reed stems were shorter but thicker in cut plots (148 cm tall; 3.7 mm diameter) than uncut plots (177 cm tall; 3.5 mm diameter). Cut and uncut plots had statistically similar plant species richness (data reported but units not clear) and diversity (data reported as a diversity index). Of 17 common, non-reed plant species for which data were reported, 12 were more frequent in cut plots than in uncut plots (statistical significance not assessed; see original paper for data). Methods: Five pair of 30 x 40 m plots were established in a reedbed that had not been managed for ≥10 years. In March 1988, one random plot/pair was cut. Cuttings were removed. The other plots were left unmanged. All plots were flooded from April 1988. Vegetation was surveyed in July and August 1988. Live and dead reed stems were counted, and plant species were recorded, in 0.25-m2 quadrats (number not clear). Forty live reed stems/plot were measured. This summary takes some contextual and methodological details from Ditlhogo et al. (1992).

    Additional Reference: Ditlhogo M.K.M., James R., Laurence B.R. & Sutherland W.J. (1992) The effects of conservation management of reed beds. I. The invertebrates. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 265–276.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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