Study

The establishment and maintenance of a species‐rich grassland on a reclaimed opencast coal site

  • Published source details Chapman R. & Younger A. (1995) The establishment and maintenance of a species‐rich grassland on a reclaimed opencast coal site. Restoration Ecology, 3, 39-50.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Mow before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Graze with livestock after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Mow before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 1986–1992 in a former opencast mine in Northumberland, UK (1) found that cutting vegetation yearly after sowing seeds increased plant species richness compared to grazing with livestock after sowing. After one year, plant species richness did not differ significantly between areas where seeds were sown and then cut yearly (20 species/m2) and area where seeds were sown and grazed by livestock (21 species/m2). However, after two years, species richness was higher in areas that were cut annually, and this remained the case for the following two years (seeded and cut: 22–24 species/m2; seeded and grazed: 20–22 species/m2). In 1986, topsoil that had been removed during mining was replaced and sown with a temporary cover crop. The cover crop was removed by ploughing in autumn 1987 and soil disturbed using a power harrow in April 1988. Two 1,500 m2 plots were fenced and cut every year in mid-July, while two plots were grazed by livestock throughout the summer. All plots were grazed in spring. In July 1989–1992, vegetation cover for each species was estimated using fifteen 1-m2 quadrats in each plot.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Graze with livestock after seeding/planting

    A replicated, controlled study in 1986–1992 in a former opencast mine in Northumberland, UK (Chapman & Younger 1995) found that grazing with livestock after sowing seeds reduced plant species richness compared to cutting vegetation after sowing. After one year, plant species richness did not differ significantly between plots sown with seeds and grazed by livestock in summer (21 species/m2) and plots sown with seeds and cut once/year (20 species/m2). However, after two years, species richness was lower in plots that were grazed by livestock each summer and this remained the case for the following two years (seeded and grazed: 20–21 species/m2; seeded and cut: 22–23 species/m2). In 1986, topsoil that had been removed during mining was spread over the site and sown with a temporary cover crop. The cover crop was removed by ploughing in autumn 1987 and soil was disturbed using a power harrow in April 1988. Two 1,500-m2 plots were fenced and grazed by livestock throughout the summer, while two plots were cut every year in mid-July. All plots were grazed in spring. In July 1989–1992, vegetation cover for each species was estimated using fifteen 1-m2 quadrats in each plot.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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