Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of restoration measures on nutrient availability in a formerly nutrient-poor floating fen after acidification and eutrophication

Published source details

Beltman B., van den Broek T., Bloemen S. & Witsel C. (1996) Effects of restoration measures on nutrient availability in a formerly nutrient-poor floating fen after acidification and eutrophication. Biological Conservation, 78, 271-277


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Drain/replace acidic water Peatland Conservation

A controlled study in 1989–1993 in a degraded floating fen in the Netherlands (Beltman et al. 1996) reported that draining acidic surface water increased herb cover, but only when moss was also removed. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Drainage alone had no effect on vegetation cover. After four years, a drained and undrained plot had similar vegetation cover (total moss: 93%; Sphagnum: 62%; herbs: 3%). However, drainage in combination with moss removal favoured herbs. A plot drained and cleared of moss developed 76% herb cover with 0% moss cover. In contrast, a plot cleared of moss but not drained regained high moss cover (total moss: 96%; Sphagnum: 53%; herbs: <1%). In 1989, a ditch was built to drain surface water from two 16 m2 plots in an acidified, nutrient-enriched fen. Two other plots were not drained. In 1991, the moss carpet was also cleared from one drained and one undrained plot. In 1995, vegetation cover was recorded in six 1 m2 quadrats/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Physically remove problematic plants Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 1989–1993 in a degraded floating fen in the Netherlands (Beltman et al. 1996) reported that the effect of moss removal on vegetation cover after two years depended on whether plots were previously drained. These results were not tested for statistical significance. All plots were initially dominated by mosses (moss cover: 83–96%; herb cover: <1–2%). Of two drained plots, one cleared of moss developed herb cover after two years (moss cover: 0%; herb cover: 76%) whereas one from which moss was not removed remained dominated by mosses (total moss cover: 99%; Sphagnum cover: 64%; herb cover: 3%). In two undrained plots, moss removal had no effect on vegetation cover. Plots with and without moss removal developed similar vegetation cover (total mosses: 93–96%; Sphagnum: 53–62%; herbs: 1–3%). In 1991, the moss carpet was cleared from two 16 m2 plots in an acidified, nutrient-enriched fen. Two adjacent plots were not cleared. One cleared and one uncleared plot were also drained (by a ditch dug in 1989). In 1991 (before moss removal) and 1993, vegetation cover was recorded in six 1 m2 quadrats/plot.