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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Testing protocols to restore disturbed Sphagnum-dominated peatlands in the Hudson Bay Lowland

Published source details

Corson A. & Campbell D. (2013) Testing protocols to restore disturbed Sphagnum-dominated peatlands in the Hudson Bay Lowland. Wetlands, 33, 291-299


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

Create mounds or hollows (before planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that placing peat blocks on a peatland, before sowing Sphagnum moss, had no effect on bryophyte cover. After three years, Sphagnum cover did not differ significantly between plots with peat blocks (40%) or without (38%). There was also no difference in total bryophyte cover between plots with peat blocks (66%) or without (67%). In August 2007, six pairs of 2 x 2 m plots were established on bare peat, historically disturbed by vehicles or pipeline construction. Twenty-five bare peat blocks (10 x 12 x 20 cm) were evenly spaced on one random plot in each pair. Then, all plots received fresh fragments of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax, and 30 g/m2 rock phosphate fertilizer. In August 2010, moss cover was estimated in six random 12.5 x 12.5 cm subplots within each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Introduce nurse plants (to aid focal peatland plants) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that planting nurse herbs before sowing Sphagnum moss fragments had no effect on bryophyte cover. After three years, Sphagnum cover did not differ significantly between plots with nurse herbs (low density: 52%; high density: 51%) and without (38%). There was also no difference in total bryophyte cover between treatments (with nurse plants: 72–76%; without: 68%). In August 2007, eighteen 2 x 2 m plots were established, in six blocks of three, on historically disturbed bogs. Twelve plots (two random plots/block) were planted with cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum tussocks as nurse plants: six at low density (50 cm apart) and six at high density (25 cm apart). The other six plots were left as bare peat. Then, all plots received fresh fragments of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax, and 30 g/m2 rock phosphate fertilizer. In August 2010, moss cover was estimated by eye in six random 12.5 x 12.5 cm subplots within each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add mosses to peatland surface Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that plots sown with Sphagnum moss fragments had greater bryophyte cover, after three years, than unsown plots. This was true for both Sphagnum moss cover (sown: 38–52%; unsown: 8%) and total bryophyte cover (sown: 66–76%; unsown: 26%). Amongst sown plots, bryophyte cover did not significantly differ between plots with and without mulch (see intervention Add mulch after planting), nurse plants (see intervention Introduce nurse plants before planting peatland vegetation) or peat blocks for shelter (see intervention Create mounds or hollows before planting). In August 2007, forty-eight 2 x 2 m plots were established, in six blocks of eight, across two bogs. Plots were initially bare peat, following disturbance from vehicles or pipeline construction. Forty-two plots (seven random plots/block) were sown with fresh moss fragments (mix of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax). The remaining six plots (one plot/block) were not sown. All plots received 30 g/m2 rock phosphate fertilizer. Some sown plots were also mulched, sheltered with peat blocks or planted with nurse plants. In August 2010, moss cover was visually estimated in six 12.5 x 12.5 cm quadrats/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add mosses to peatland surface Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that plots sown with Sphagnum moss fragments had greater bryophyte cover, after three years, than unsown plots. This was true for both Sphagnum moss cover (sown: 5–17%; unsown: 1%) and total bryophyte cover (sown: 24–51%; unsown: 21%). Adding mulch did not significantly affect bryophyte cover (see intervention Add mulch after planting). In May 2007, twenty-four 1 m2 plots of bare peat were sown with moss fragments (a mix of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax, stored outside during the preceding winter). Twelve of the plots were also mulched with straw. Some additional control plots (number not reported) were neither sown nor mulched. All plots received 30 g/m2 rock phosphate fertilizer. In August 2010, moss cover was visually estimated in six 12.5 x 12.5 cm quadrats/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Cover peatland with organic mulch (after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that mulching plots sown with Sphagnum moss fragments had no effect on bryophyte cover. After three years, Sphagnum cover did not differ significantly between treatments (sedge mulch: 33%; coconut mulch: 42%; straw mulch: 52%; no mulch: 38%). There was also no difference in total bryophyte cover between treatments (mulch: 66–76%; no mulch: 68%). In August 2007, fragments of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax were spread onto 24 bare peat plots (each 2 x 2 m, arranged in six blocks of four). Six plots (one random plot/block) received each mulch treatment: none, sedge cuttings, coconut fibre or straw. All plots were also fertilized with rock phosphate. In August 2010, moss cover was estimated in six random 12.5 x 12.5 cm subplots within each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Cover peatland with organic mulch (after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2007–2010 in two historically disturbed bogs in Ontario, Canada (Corson & Campbell 2013) found that mulching plots sown with Sphagnum moss fragments had no effect on bryophyte cover. After three years, Sphagnum cover did not significantly differ between mulched plots (9–17%) and unmulched plots (3–7%). There was also no difference in total bryophyte cover between mulched plots (29–51%) and unmulched plots (24–31%). In May 2007, fragments of rusty bog moss Sphagnum fuscum and flat-topped bog moss Sphagnum fallax were spread onto 24 bare peat plots (each 1 m2, arranged in four blocks of six). Twelve plots (three random plots/block) were then mulched with straw. The other 12 plots were not mulched. All plots were fertilized with rock phosphate. In August 2010, moss cover was estimated in six random 12.5 x 12.5 cm subplots within each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)