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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Restoring the vegetation of mined peatlands in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA

Published source details

Cooper D.J. & MacDonald L.H. (2000) Restoring the vegetation of mined peatlands in the southern Rocky Mountains of Colorado, USA. Restoration Ecology, 8, 103-111


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

Directly plant peatland trees/shrubs Peatland Conservation

A replicated study in 1992–1994 in a historically mined fen in Colorado, USA (Cooper & MacDonald 2000) reported that 12–33% of planted willow Salix spp. cuttings survived over two years. Four species were planted. Survival of myrtle-leaf willow Salix myrtillifolia was 33%, mountain willow Salix monticola 26%, hoary willow Salix candida 13% and barren ground willow Salix brachycarpa 12%. In June 1992, four plots (myrtle-leaf willow) or 27 plots (all other species) were planted with 10–20 fresh cuttings of each species. Plots were 0.5 x 0.5 m, contained a “few” centimetres of surface peat, had variable water levels and had been cleared of existing vegetation. Cuttings were woody stems approximately 30 cm long. Approximately 20 cm was buried below the soil surface. Half the leaves were removed prior to planting. Survival was recorded in August 1994.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Introduce seeds of peatland trees/shrubs Peatland Conservation

A replicated study in 1992 in a historically mined fen in Colorado, USA (Cooper & MacDonald 2000) reported that planted hoary willow Salix candida seeds germinated in 6 of 25 plots, but that all seedlings died within one month. In June 1992, twenty fresh ripe seeds were planted into each of 25 plots (0.5 x 0.5 m, with a “few” centimetres of surface peat and variable water levels). All plots had been cleared of existing vegetation. Seeds were watered after planting. Seedling germination and survival were recorded weekly until the end of August 1992.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Introduce seeds of peatland herbs Peatland Conservation

A replicated study in 1992 in a historically mined fen in Colorado, USA (Cooper & MacDonald 2000) reported that planted seeds germinated for one of seven herb species. Arrowgrass Triglochin maritima germinated in 15 of 25 plots (but not the very wettest or very driest). No seeds germinated for three Carex sedge species, common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium, elk sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula or Rocky Mountain iris Iris missouriensis. In June 1992, each species was planted into 25 separate 0.5 x 0.5 m plots (20 seeds/plot). Plots contained shallow surface peat (a “few” centimetres), had variable water levels and had been cleared of existing vegetation. Seeds were collected from the wild in 1991 and kept cold over winter. Seeds were watered after planting. Germination and seedling survival were recorded weekly until the end of August 1992.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Directly plant peatland herbs Peatland Conservation

A replicated study in 1992–1994 in a historically mined fen in Colorado, USA (Cooper & MacDonald 2000) reported that 7–65% of planted herbs survived over two years. Seven species were planted. Survival was 50% for water sedge Carex aquatilis seedlings. New clones had also appeared. Survival was 42–65% for rhizomes of three Carex sedge species, 26% for elk sedge Kobresia simpliciuscula rhizomes, 13% for common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium rhizomes and 7% for arctic rush Juncus articus rhizomes. Survival of some species was affected by water table depth. In June 1992, each species was planted into 10 or 27 separate 50 x 50 cm plots (10 plants/plot). Plots contained shallow surface peat (a “few” centimetres), had variable water levels and were cleared of existing vegetation. Rhizomes, supporting at least two live shoots, were transplanted immediately after collection. Water sedge seedlings were grown from seed in spring 1992. Survival was recorded in August 1994.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)