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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reintroduction of fen plant communities on a degraded minerotrophic peatland

Published source details

Rochefort L., LeBlanc M.-C., Bérubé V., Hugron S., Boudreau S. & Pouliot R. (2016) Reintroduction of fen plant communities on a degraded minerotrophic peatland. Canadian Journal of Botany, 94, 1041-1051


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

Reprofile/relandscape peatland (without planting) Peatland Conservation

A site comparison study in 2008–2014 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort et al. 2016) reported that areas restored by creating terraces and embankments (and raising the water table) developed a different plant community to nearby natural fens, with less vegetation cover. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Note that the aim of this study was to create a fen, as the post-mining peat chemistry was more like a fen than a bog. Five years after intervention, the overall plant community composition of the restored areas was different from three nearby natural fens (data reported as a graphical analysis). In the restored areas, Sphagnum moss was absent (vs 15–25% in natural fens), other moss cover only 1% (vs 12–55%) and vascular plant cover only 24% (vs 59–86%). In winter 2009/2010, parts of a historically mined bog (abandoned for nine years) were reprofiled (pushing the top 30 cm of degraded peat into embankments) and rewetted (by blocking drainage ditches). The study does not distinguish between the effects of these interventions. Vegetation cover was estimated in 2008 (donor fen; in 16 quadrats along a transect) or 2014 (restored areas: in five 25 m2 plots).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add lime (before/after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2011–2013 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort et al. 2016) found that liming plots sown with vegetation fragments had no effect on vegetation cover. After two years, there was no significant difference between limed and unlimed plots for total vegetation cover (limed: 25%; unlimed: 21%), vascular plant cover (limed: 21%; unlimed: 18%) or bryophyte cover (limed: 4%; unlimed: 3%). In winter 2009/2010, nine pairs of 20 m2 plots were sown with mixed vegetation fragments from a donor fen. The plots were on a historically mined bog, but the aim of this study was to create a fen because the post-mining peat chemistry was more fen-like than bog-like. In July 2012, dolomitic lime was added to one plot/pair (15 g/m2). The other plots were not limed. In July 2014, vegetation cover was estimated in six quadrats/plot: vascular plants in three 1 x 1 m quadrats and bryophytes in three 50 x 50 cm quadrats.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Restore/create peatland vegetation (multiple interventions) Peatland Conservation

A site comparison study in 2008–2014 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort et al. 2016) reported that an area restored using multiple interventions developed a different plant community to, with less vegetation cover than, nearby natural fens. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Note that the aim of this study was to create a fen, as the post-mining peat chemistry was more like a fen than a bog. Five years after intervention, the overall plant community composition of the restored area was different from three nearby natural fens (data reported as a graphical analysis). In the restored area, Sphagnum moss cover was only 3% (vs 15–25% in natural fens) and other moss cover only 3% (vs 12–55%). Vascular plant cover was only 26% (vs 59–86%), although the dominant species were similar in the restored fen and its donor fen. In winter 2009/2010, part of a historically mined bog (abandoned for nine years) was restored by rewetting (blocking drainage ditches with peat), excavating peat basins (removing surface peat and building embankments), sowing vegetation fragments from a moss-dominated donor fen, and mulching with straw. Vegetation cover was estimated in 2008 (donor fen; in 16 quadrats along a transect) or 2014 (restored area: in five 25 m2 plots).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Add inorganic fertilizer (before/after planting) Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 2011–2013 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort et al. 2016) found that fertilizing plots sown with vegetation fragments increased total vegetation cover, vascular plant cover and bryophyte cover. After two years, fertilized plots had significantly greater cover than unfertilized plots of total vegetation (fertilized: 44%; unfertilized: 21%), vascular plants (fertilized: 35%; unfertilized: 18%) and bryophytes (fertilized: 9%; unfertilized: 3%). Nine pairs of 20 m2 plots were established on a historically mined bog. The plots had been sown with mixed vegetation fragments from a donor fen in winter 2009/2010. Note that the aim of this study was to create a fen, as the post-mining peat chemistry was more like a fen than a bog. In July 2012, nine plots (one plot/pair) were fertilized with rock phosphate (25 g/m2). The other plots were not fertilized. In July 2014, vegetation cover was estimated in six quadrats/plot: vascular plants in three 1 x 1 m quadrats and bryophytes in three 50 x 50 cm quadrats.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Rewet peatland (raise water table) Peatland Conservation

A site comparison study in 2008–2014 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Rochefort et al. 2016) reported that a rewetted area developed a different plant community to, with less vegetation cover than, nearby natural fens. These results were not tested for statistical significance. Note that the aim of this study was to create a fen, as the post-mining peat chemistry was more like a fen than a bog. After five years, the rewetted area contained a different overall plant community to three nearby natural fens (data reported as a graphical analysis). In the rewetted area, Sphagnum moss was absent (vs 15–25% in natural fens), other moss cover only 8% (vs 12–55%) and vascular plant cover only 24% (vs 59–86%). The rewetted area was dominated by woolgrass Scirpus cyperinus (19% cover; natural fens: 0%) and bog myrtle Myrica gale (8% cover; natural fens: 4–19%). In winter 2009/2010, part of a historically mined bog (abandoned for nine years) was rewetted by blocking drainage ditches with peat. Vegetation cover was estimated in 2008 (donor fen: in 16 quadrats along a transect) or 2014 (rewetted area: in six 25 m2 plots).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)