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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A new approach for tracking vegetation change after restoration: a case study with peatlands

Published source details

Poulin M., Andersen R. & Rochefort L. (2013) A new approach for tracking vegetation change after restoration: a case study with peatlands. Restoration Ecology, 21, 363-371


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

Restore/create peatland vegetation using the moss layer transfer technique Peatland Conservation

A controlled, before-and-after study in 1998–2007 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Poulin et al. 2013) reported that an area restored using the moss layer transfer technique developed a more peatland-characteristic plant community than an unrestored area, with higher richness and diversity of characteristic plants (and higher overall plant species richness). These results were not tested for statistical significance. Before intervention, both areas contained a similar community of weedy, shrubby and forest plants. Over eight years, the restored area developed a community of peatland-characteristic plants but the unrestored area did not. Red bog moss Sphagnum rubellum became particularly abundant in the restored area (data reported as graphical analyses). After eight years, the restored area contained more plant species than the unrestored area (21 vs 17), more peatland-characteristic plant species (11 vs 3; before intervention: 1) and more wetland-characteristic plant species (2 vs 0; before intervention: 0). The restored area also had higher diversity of the characteristic species than the unrestored area, but lower total plant diversity (data reported as diversity indices). In 1999, 8.4 ha of historically mined bog were restored by levelling, rewetting (building embankments and blocking drainage ditches), adding Sphagnum-dominated vegetation fragments and mulching with straw. Fertilizer was added the following summer. In the same peatland, 3.1 ha were not restored. In 1998 and 2001–2007, cover of every plant species was measured using rods dropped at over 7,000 points along transects. This study was based on the same experimental set-up as (1) and (4).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)