Impact of rewetting on the vegetation of a cut-away peatland

  • Published source details Tuittila E.-S., Vasander H. & Laine J. (2000) Impact of rewetting on the vegetation of a cut-away peatland. Applied Vegetation Science, 3, 205-212.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Rewet peatland (raise water table)

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Rewet peatland (raise water table)

    A paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 1994–1998 in a historically mined peatland in Finland (Tuittila et al. 2000) reported that rewetted plots developed a different plant community to drained plots with lower plant diversity and shrub cover, but similar moss/lichen and total vegetation cover. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Over four years, rewetted plots developed more peatland-characteristic plant communities than drained plots (data reported as a graphical analysis). After four years, plant diversity was lower in rewetted plots than drained plots (data reported as a diversity index). In rewetted plots, shrub cover was 0% (vs 6% in drained plots), moss/lichen cover 13–20% (drained: 19–20%), and total vegetation cover 40–60% (drained: 40–45%). Cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum cover was 20–34% (vs 11–18% before rewetting) and sedge Carex spp. cover was 12% (vs 4% before rewetting). Before intervention, plots to be rewetted or drained had similar plant diversity, shrub cover (0–11%), moss/lichen cover (2–24%) and total vegetation cover (15–50%). In autumn 1994, four plots were established within one drained peat field. Two plots were rewetted by blocking drainage ditches with peat dams and digging a new input ditch. Two plots remained drained. Every summer between 1994 and 1998, cover of every plant species was estimated in twelve 2 m2 quadrats/plot. The water table was within 18 cm of the peat surface in rewetted plots, compared to 4–31 cm below the surface in drained plots. This study used the same rewetted peatland as (14).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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