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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Vegetation re-development after fen meadow restoration by topsoil removal and hay transfer

Published source details

Klimkowska A., Kotowski W., Van Diggelen R., Dzierża P. & Brzezińska K. (2010) Vegetation re-development after fen meadow restoration by topsoil removal and hay transfer. Restoration Ecology, 18, 924-933


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

Exclude wild herbivores using physical barriers Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2004–2007 in a degraded fen meadow in Poland (Klimkowska et al. 2010) found that the effect of fencing (to exclude wild herbivores) on vegetation depended on other treatments applied to plots: hay addition and topsoil stripping. This was true for plant species richness, vascular plant cover, moss cover and vegetation biomass (reported as statistical model results). For example, amongst areas stripped of 20 cm of topsoil, fencing increased plant species richness if hay was not added, but reduced richness if hay was added. These comparisons were not tested for statistical significance. In 2004, eight pairs of plots (8 x 16 m) were established in a drained fen meadow grazed by wild boar and deer. Eight plots (one plot/pair) were fenced to exclude these herbivores. The other plots were not fenced. Additionally, all plots were stripped of topsoil (20 or 40 cm deep), and parts of each plot were sown with hay from a nearby fen meadow (details not clear). Vegetation cover and plant species were recorded annually between 2004 (after stripping and fencing) and 2007. Total vegetation biomass was measured from clippings taken in August 2006–2007.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

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

A replicated site comparison study in 2004–2007 in a drained fen meadow in Poland (Klimkowska et al. 2010) reported that topsoil stripping changed the plant community composition, and that vascular plant cover and plant species richness increased over time after stripping. These results are not based on tests of statistical significance. Over three years following topsoil stripping, the overall plant community composition changed: it became less like degraded fen meadows, but also less like target fen meadow vegetation. The community also differed between plots stripped to different depths (data reported as a graphical analysis). Over the same time period, there were increases in vascular plant cover (from 2–3% to 58–75%) and plant species richness (from 5–8 species/4 m2 to 18–19 species/4 m2). In 2004, topsoil was stripped from eight 8 x 16 m plots in a drained fen meadow: 40 cm from four plots and 20 cm from the other four. All of these plots were left open to grazing by boar and deer, and were mown in 2006 and 2007. None of these plots were sown with hay. Vegetation cover and plant species were recorded annually between 2004 (after soil removal) and 2007, in each plot and in nearby degraded and target (reference) meadows.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Introduce seeds of peatland herbs Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after, site comparison study in 2004–2007 in a degraded fen meadow in Poland (Klimkowska et al. 2010) found that the effect of adding hay on the meadow vegetation depended on other treatments applied to the plots: topsoil stripping and fencing. Overall, plots with and without added hay developed different plant communities over three years. However, only plots where hay was added after deep soil stripping developed a plant community similar to a target fen meadow (data reported as a graphical analysis; similarity not tested for statistical significance). The effect of hay addition on plant species richness, vascular plant cover, moss cover and vegetation biomass also depended on the other treatments (reported as statistical model results). For example, hay addition increased plant species richness in fenced plots (hay added: 23 species; no hay added: 18 species/4 m2 after three years) but had no effect in unfenced plots (data not reported). In 2004 and 2005, fen meadow hay was spread (5–7 cm thick) onto 4 m2 plots (number not clear). Some additional plots did not receive hay. All plots were historically drained, but were stripped of topsoil (20 cm or 40 cm depth) before adding hay. Half of the plots were fenced to exclude boar and deer. Vegetation cover and plant species were recorded annually between 2004 (before adding hay but after stripping soil) and 2007. Total vegetation biomass was measured from clippings taken in August 2006–2007.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)