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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The influence of rewetting on vegetation development and decomposition in a degraded fen

Published source details

Richert M., Dietrich O., Koppisch D. & Roth S. (2000) The influence of rewetting on vegetation development and decomposition in a degraded fen. Restoration Ecology, 8, 186-195


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

Disturb peatland surface to encourage growth of desirable plants (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 1996–1998 in a degraded fen in Germany (Richert et al. 2000) reported that ploughed plots developed different plant communities to unploughed plots over two years. Specifically, ploughed plots developed greater cover than unploughed plots of weedy species from the seed bank such as toad rush Juncus bufonius and pale persicaria Polygonum lapathifolium. All plots were colonized by wetland-characteristic species such as cattail Typha latifolia and common rush Juncus effusus, but not sedges Carex spp. or common reed Phragmites australis. Data were reported as graphical analyses. Results were not tested for statistical significance. In 1996, two pairs of plots were established in a historically drained fen. In each pair, one plot was ploughed to a depth of 20 cm and one was not ploughed. Then, the surface of all plots was irrigated with lake water. Before intervention in 1996, then in 1997 and 1998, vegetation cover was estimated in a representative 16 m2 area in each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Irrigate peatland (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A before-and-after study in 1996–1998 in a degraded fen in Germany (Richert et al. 2000) reported that irrigated plots developed cover of wetland- and fen-characteristic herbs at the expense of dry grassland species. All data were reported as graphical analyses and the results were not tested for statistical significance. Over two years of irrigation, cover of fen-characteristic forbs increased. The same was true for cover of wetland-characteristic species like cattail Typha latifolia and common rush Juncus effusus. Meanwhile, cover of dry grassland species such as tall fescue Festuca arundinacea decreased. No colonisation by sedges Carex spp. or common reed Phragmites australis was observed. Within the irrigated fen, plant communities differed between drier areas (high water table but never flooded) and wetter areas (sometimes flooded). In 1996, the surface of a drained fen was irrigated with lake water. Vegetation cover was recorded before irrigation (1996) and after one or two years or irrigation (1997, 1998) in four representative 16 m2 plots.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)