Effects of mowing cessation and hydrology on plant trait distribution in natural fen meadows

  • Published source details Opdekamp W., Beauchard O., Backx H., Franken F., Cox T.J.S., Van Diggelen R. & Meire P. (2012) Effects of mowing cessation and hydrology on plant trait distribution in natural fen meadows. Acta Oecologica, 39, 117-127.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2005–2008 in a fen meadow in Poland (Opdekamp et al. 2012) found that mown plots contained more plant species and more moss biomass than unmown plots, but similar total plant biomass. Plant species richness was higher in plots mown every year (25 species/210 sample pins) than plots not mown for about 15 years (21 species/210 sample pins). The most abundant species under both treatments were sedges: black sedge Carex nigra in mown plots (16% cover) and fibrous tussock sedge Carex approprinquata in unmown plots (23% cover). Mown plots contained greater moss biomass than unmown plots, but total plant biomass was similar under both treatments (reported as statistical model results). Between 2005 and 2008, fifteen pairs of 2 x 2 m plots were sampled in early July. In each pair, one plot was in mown fen meadow (mown in late summer for at least 30 years). The other plot was in abandoned fen meadow, not mown for approximately 15 years. In each plot, plant species touching 210 pins were recorded. Live above-ground vegetation was collected from a 0.25 m2 quadrat, then dried and weighed.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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