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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Post-fire experimental trials of vegetation restoration techniques in the peatlands of Namadgi (ACT) and Kosciuszko National Parks (NSW), Australia

Published source details

Whinam J., Hope G., Good R. & Wright G. (2010) Post-fire experimental trials of vegetation restoration techniques in the peatlands of Namadgi (ACT) and Kosciuszko National Parks (NSW), Australia. Pages 363-379 in: Terra Australis 32. Australian National University e-press, Canberra.


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

Cover peatland with organic mulch (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2003–2007 in a fire-damaged bog in Australia (Whinam et al. 2010) reported that mulching with straw had no effect on Sphagnum moss cover. This result is not based on a test of statistical significance. After 40 months, Sphagnum cover was similar in straw-mulched (8.6%) and unmulched plots (7.8%). This followed fluctuations over the 40 months, when Sphagnum cover was sometimes higher in mulched than unmulched plots but sometimes lower. Immediately before shading, plots had approximately 3% Sphagnum cover. In January 2003, the focal bog was burned by a wild fire. In October 2003, five burned plots (3 x 15 m) were mulched with sterilized straw (2 tonnes/ha). Five additional plots were not mulched. Vegetation cover was recorded in 0.25 m2 quadrats: five across the bog in October 2003, then one/plot every six months until March 2007.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Cover peatland with something other than mulch (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2003–2007 in two in Australia (Whinam et al. 2010) found that plots shaded with plastic mesh developed greater vegetation cover than unshaded plots. After 40 months, shaded plots had significantly greater cover of native plants in general, and of forbs, than unshaded plots (data not reported). Sphagnum moss cover was 10% in shaded plots compared to 8% in unshaded plots (difference not tested for statistical significance). Immediately before shading, plots had 3% Sphagnum cover on average. In January 2003, the focal bogs were burned by a wild fire. In October 2003, ten burned plots (3 x 15 m; five plots/bog) were shaded with plastic mesh (blocking 70% of incoming light). Fifteen additional plots were left uncovered. Vegetation cover was recorded in 0.25 m2 quadrats: five/bog in October 2003, and one/plot in March 2007.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Directly plant peatland mosses Peatland Conservation

A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 2003–2007 in seven burned bogs in Australia (Whinam et al. 2010) reported that plots planted with Sphagnum moss developed greater Sphagnum cover than unplanted plots, especially when shaded. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Immediately before intervention, Sphagnum cover was approximately 3%. After 40 months, plots planted with Sphagnum sods had developed 9–21% Sphagnum cover: 9% if mulched with straw, 11% if shaded with a vertical cloth and 21% if shaded with a horizontal cloth. In comparison, unplanted plots had developed 8–10% Sphagnum cover: 8% with no intervention and 10% if shaded with a horizontal cloth. In October 2003, 75 plots were established across bogs recently burned by wild fire. In one bog, fifteen 45 m2 plots were planted with sods of mixed Sphagnum species (30 cm thick, 400 cm2). All sods were fertilized. Five planted plots then received each cover treatment: straw mulch, vertical shade cloth or horizontal shade cloth. In the same bog, five additional plots were covered with shade cloth but not planted. The remaining 55 plots across all seven bogs received no intervention. In October 2003 and 2007, Sphagnum cover was estimated in 5–20 quadrats/plot or bog. Quadrats were 0.25 m2.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Cover peatland with something other than mulch (after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired, before-and-after study in 2003–2007 in a fire-damaged bog in Australia (Whinam et al. 2010) reported that amongst plots planted with sods of Sphagnum moss, those shaded with a horizontal plastic mesh developed greater Sphagnum cover than those shaded by a vertical mesh. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Immediately before planting, Sphagnum cover was 3% on average. Forty months after planting, horizontally shaded plots had 21% Sphagnum cover, compared to 11% in vertically shaded plots. In January 2003, the focal bog was burned by a wild fire. In October 2003, five pairs of plots (3 x 15 m) were planted with sods (20 x 20 x 30 cm) of mixed Sphagnum moss species. All sods were fertilized. In each pair, one plot was covered with plastic mesh (blocking 70% of incoming light) and one was shaded with a vertical mesh fence (1.6 m high). Sphagnum cover was estimated in 0.25 m2 quadrats: five in the bog in October 2003, and 1–2/plot in March 2007.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)