Individual study: The effect of implementation of winter vs. summer mowing upon vegetation in two abandoned wet meadows, Lake Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Buttler A. (1992) Permanent plot research in wet meadows and cutting experiment. Vegetatio, 103, 113-124
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Restore or create traditional water meadows
A replicated, controlled, randomized study of two wet meadows over four years in Switzerland (Buttler 1992) found that overall winter and summer (August) cuts had positive effects on plant species densities in terms of individuals, leaves, shoots and flowers. However individual species were affected differently by cutting regime. For example, an annual winter cut caused an increase in the number of flowers for common reed Phragmites communis (now P. australis), whilst a summer cut reduced them. Some drier vegetation communities were damaged when cut in summer, whereas wetter communities were more resilient to summer mowing. In general, annual winter cuts tended to improve the vitality of vascular plants (in terms of increased number of individuals, flowering and biomass). Plant vitality was lowest in uncut plots and intermediate with an annual summer cut and winter cut every three years. Vegetation structure differed with treatments (hay removed) and uncut controls. The meadows had been abandoned for many years and treatments were applied in three blocks with three replicates. Vegetation was sampled in July-August within 11 x 11 m and 13 x 13 m permanent plots from 1983 to 1986.