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Individual study: A multidisciplinary evaluation of restoration measures in a degraded Cirsio-Molinietum fen meadow

Published source details

van Duren I.C., Strykstra R.J., Grootjans A.P., ter Heerdt G.N.J. & Pegtel D.M. (1998) A multidisciplinary evaluation of restoration measures in a degraded Cirsio-Molinietum fen meadow. Applied Vegetation Science, 1, 115-130


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 herbs Peatland Conservation

A replicated study in 1994–1995 in a degraded fen meadow in the Netherlands (van Duren et al. 1998) reported that most planted herbs survived over one growing season, but after two growing seasons survival was lower and more variable. These results were not tested for statistical significance. After one growing season, 92–100% of planted carnation sedge Carex panicea, tawny sedge Carex hostiana and meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum had survived. After two growing seasons, survival was 8–88% across all species, but higher for carnation sedge (72–88%) than tawny sedge (8–20%) or meadow thistle (8–32%). For tawny sedge and meadow thistle, survival was lower in limed plots (8–20%) than unlimed plots (15–32%), and in topsoil-stripped plots (8–20%) than unstripped plots (8–32%). In May 1994, twenty 1 m2 plots were each planted with 15 plants (five of each species). Five plots had been stripped and limed, five stripped but not limed, five limed but not stripped, and five neither stripped nor limed. All plots had been rewetted and were mown every August. In August 1994 and 1995, survival of all plants was recorded.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add inorganic fertilizer (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1994 in a degraded fen meadow in the Netherlands (van Duren et al. 1998) found that adding fertilizer increased plant biomass in 10 of 24 comparisons. The other comparisons were non-significant increases. After three months, above-ground vegetation biomass was greater in plots fertilized with phosphorous (80–370 g/m2) than in unfertilized plots (20–200 g/m2). The same was true for plots fertilized with phosphorous and nitrogen (220–460 g/m2) vs plots fertilized only with nitrogen (30–270 g/m2), and for plots fertilized with potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen (240–490 g/m2) vs plots fertilized with potassium and phosphorous or nitrogen (30–300 g/m2). In May 1994, 1 m2 plots (number not reported) were established in a rewetted fen meadow. Each plot received one fertilizer treatment: no fertilizer, N, P, K, N+P, N+K, P+K or N+P+K. Half of the plots were in an area stripped of topsoil. In August 1994, above-ground vegetation was harvested in a 60 x 60 cm quadrat in each plot, then dried and weighed.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Remove upper layer of peat/soil (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A controlled study in 1991–1996 in a degraded fen meadow in the Netherlands (van Duren et al. 1998) found that stripping topsoil reduced vegetation biomass after three months, but typically had no effect on vegetation cover after five years. After three months, above-ground biomass was significantly lower in a stripped area (20–240 g/m2) than in an area that had not been stripped (200–490 g/m2). After five years, both areas were dominated by velvety bentgrass Agrostis canina (36–37% cover) and contained the same three Carex sedge species (1–4% cover) but no Sphagnum moss. However, cover of purple moor grass Molinia caerulea was only 1% in the stripped area, compared to 21% in the unstripped area. Cover results were not tested for statistical significance. In 1991, 15–20 cm of topsoil was removed from 0.5 ha of degraded fen meadow. An adjacent area was not stripped. The meadow was historically drained but had been rewetted five years before stripping. Both areas were partially fertilized, partially limed and mown every August. In August 1994, above-ground vegetation was harvested in 60 x 60 cm quadrats (number not reported), then dried and weighed. Vegetation cover was estimated in 1996 (details not reported).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add lime to reduce acidity and/or increase fertility Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1994 in a degraded fen meadow in the Netherlands (van Duren et al. 1998) found that limed plots contained more plant biomass after three months than unlimed plots. This was true in plots that had previously been stripped of topsoil (limed: 40; unlimed: 20 g/m2 biomass) and plots that had not been stripped (limed: 250; unlimed: 200 g/m2 biomass). The biomass was mostly established, dominant, velvety bentgrass Agrostis canina (precise contribution not reported). In May 1994, ten 1 m2 plots in a degraded, historically drained fen meadow were limed (approximately 500 g/m2). Ten additional plots were not limed. Five limed and five unlimed plots had been previously stripped of topsoil. In August 1994, above-ground vegetation was harvested in one 60 x 60 cm quadrat/plot, then dried and weighed.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add lime (before/after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled study in 1994–1995 in a degraded fen meadow in the Netherlands (van Duren et al. 1998) reported that liming typically reduced survival of planted herbs. Three species were planted: carnation sedge Carex panicea, tawny sedge Carex hostiana and meadow thistle Cirsium dissectum. In four of six comparisons, survival after two growing seasons was lower in limed plots (8–20%) than in unlimed plots (15–32%). In one comparison, survival was no different in limed and unlimed plots (72%). In the final comparison, survival was higher in limed plots (88%) than in unlimed plots (80%). After one growing season, lime had little effect on survival (>92% in all plots). In May 1994, twenty 1 m2 plots were each planted with 15 plants (five of each species). Ten plots were limed (450–510 g/m2) and ten were not. All plots had been rewetted and were mown every August. Half had been stripped of topsoil. In August 1994 and 1995, survival of all plants was recorded.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)