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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Contrasting response to mowing in two abandoned rich fen plant communities

Published source details

Menichino N.M., Fenner N., Pullin A.S., Jones P.S., Guest J. & Jones L. (2016) Contrasting response to mowing in two abandoned rich fen plant communities. Ecological Engineering, 86, 210-222

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

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 2011–2013 in three degraded fens in Wales, UK (Menichino et al. 2016) found that mowing typically reduced cover of grass-like plants and shrubs, typically had no effect on bryophyte cover, forb cover and plant species richness, and had mixed effects on vegetation height. In three of four comparisons, mown plots had less cover than unmown plots of grasses/sedges/rushes overall (50–56% vs 71–94%), the dominant sedge species (19–30% vs 41–82%), and shrubs (7–24% vs 11–36%). In contrast, in three of four comparisons mown and unmown plots had similar bryophyte cover (0–2%), forb cover (3–15% vs 2–20%) and plant species richness (6–17 species/plot vs 7–16 species/plot). Mown plots contained shorter vegetation than unmown plots in two of four comparisons (for which mown: 69–74 cm; unmown: 99–104 cm). Before mowing, all plots had similar vegetation cover, species richness and vegetation height. Seventeen pairs of 10 x 10 m plots were established across three abandoned fens. In spring 2012, one random plot in each pair was mown once (with a mechanical mower or strimmer; cuttings were removed). The other plots were left unmown. Data were recorded before mowing (summer 2011) and 1–2 years after (summer 2012 and 2013), in five 4 m2 quadrats/plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)