Effects of prescribed burns and mowing on reed Phragmites australis yield and shoot density at Zuidelijk Flevoland polder, Flevoland, the Netherlands

  • Published source details Mook J.H. & van Der Toorn J. (1982) The influence of environmental factors and management on stands of Phragmites australis. II. Effects on yield and its relationships with shoot density. Journal of Applied Ecology, 19, 501-517


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Use prescribed fire to maintain or restore disturbance: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, paired, controlled, before-and-after study in 1972–1975 in a created reedbed in the Netherlands (Mook & van der Toorn 1982) found that spring-burned plots typically contained more common reed Phragmites australis biomass and thicker reed shoots than unburned plots. In late April/early May, burned plots contained thicker reed shoots than unburned plots in three of four comparisons (all burned mid-April; burned: 6.2–7.2 mm; unburned: 4.5–5.7 mm; other comparison no significant difference). In August/September, burned plots contained more above-ground reed biomass than unburned plots in seven of eight comparisons (for which burned: 1,200–1,760 g/m2; unburned: 530–1,270 g/m2; other comparison no significant difference). In the autumn before intervention, reed biomass was similar under both treatments (burned: 1,010–1,040 g/m2; unburned: 1,080–1,120 g/m2; statistical significance not assessed). Methods: In 1971, two pairs of plots were established in a young reedbed (sown in 1968). One pair was in a wetter area (flooded spring to autumn). One pair was in a drier area (water table 30–100 cm below surface). Between 1972 and 1975, one plot/pair was burned each spring (as early as possible). The other plots were not burned. Between April and October each year, all standing reed stems were cut from quadrats (0.25–0.50 m2; 2–6 quadrats/plot/sampling date), then measured, dried and weighed. This study used the same experimental set-up as (2).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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