Study

The impact of mechanical harvesting regimes on the aquatic and shore vegetation in water courses of agricultural areas of the Netherlands

  • Published source details Best E.P.H. (1994) The impact of mechanical harvesting regimes on the aquatic and shore vegetation in water courses of agricultural areas of the Netherlands. Vegetatio (now Plant Ecology), 112, 57-71.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce frequency of cutting/mowing: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Change season/timing of cutting/mowing: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Reduce frequency of cutting/mowing: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1989–1991 of four farmland ditches in the Netherlands (Best 1994) found that vegetation cutting had similar effects on the plant community in the emergent wetland zone, whether it was done once, twice or three times/year. The overall plant community composition was statistically similar under each cutting frequency in three of three years (data reported as statistical model results). Plant species richness was similar under each cutting frequency in 10 of 12 comparisons (for which one cut: 10–49; two cuts: 8–48; three cuts: 9–49 species/ditch). The study also identified 16 common emergent and terrestrial plant species whose cover was significantly affected by the frequency of cutting in at least one ditch (data not reported). Methods: Between 1989 and 1991, vegetation was cleared from three 20 m sections of each ditch: one section each May; one section each May and July; one section each May, July and September. Vegetation was cut within the ditch and on its margins, then dumped higher up on the ditch banks. Each July, plant species and their cover (excluding mosses) were recorded in the emergent wetland zone (influenced by water, parts seasonally flooded) bordering each ditch.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Change season/timing of cutting/mowing: freshwater marshes

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1989–1991 of four farmland ditches in the Netherlands (Best 1994) found that vegetation cutting had similar effects on the plant community in the emergent wetland zone, whether it was done in May or November. The season of cutting had no significant effect on the overall plant community composition in two of three years, and had only a small effect in the other year (data reported as statistical model results). The season of cutting had no significant effect on plant species richness in 11 of 12 comparisons (for which May-cut: 10–49; November-cut: 8–47 species/ditch). The study also identified 18 common emergent and terrestrial plant species whose cover was significantly affected by the season of cutting in at least one of the four ditches (data not reported). Methods: Between 1989 and 1991, vegetation was cleared from two 20 m sections of each ditch: one section each May and one section each November. Vegetation was cut within the ditch and on its margins, then dumped higher up on the ditch banks. Each July, plant species and their cover (excluding mosses) were recorded in the emergent wetland zone (influenced by water, parts seasonally flooded) bordering each ditch.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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