Study

Topsoil removal improves various restoration treatments of a Mediterranean steppe (La Crau, southeast France)

  • Published source details Jaunatre R., Buisson E. & Dutoit T. (2014) Topsoil removal improves various restoration treatments of a Mediterranean steppe (La Crau, southeast France). Applied Vegetation Science, 17, 236-245.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow seeds of nurse plants

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Remove topsoil or turf before seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow seeds of nurse plants

    A replicated, controlled study in 2009–2012 in a former orchard in the south of France (Jaunatre et al. 2014) found that sowing seeds of nurse plants did not alter plant species richness or vegetation cover and reduced the similarity of the plant community to that of intact steppe. Plant species richness did not differ significantly between areas where seeds of nurse plants were sown (10 species/plot) and areas where no seeds were sown (16 species/plot), but both were lower than species richness in an intact steppe site (33 species/plot). The similarity of the plant community to that of the intact steppe site was lower in areas where seeds of nurse plants were sown than in areas where they were not sown (presented as Bray-Curtis similarity). Vegetation cover was not significantly different in areas where the seeds of nurse plants were sown (66%) and areas where they were not (67%). In 2009, all trees were removed from the former orchard and soils were levelled. Sheep were introduced in 2010. Seeds of nurse plants were sown in two 30-ha areas, while no seeds were sown in a 270-ha area. In May 2012, cover of each plant species was recorded in each area in eighteen 2 x 2 m quadrats.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Remove topsoil or turf before seeding/planting

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2009–2012 in a former orchard in the south of France (Jaunatre et al. 2014) found that removing topsoil before sowing seeds increased plant species richness and the similarity of the plant community to that of intact steppe, but did not alter vegetation cover. After three years, average plant species richness was higher in plots where topsoil was removed before seeds were sown (23 species/quadrat) than in plots where topsoil was not removed before seeds were sown (10 species/quadrat). Plant community similarity to an intact steppe site was also higher in plots where topsoil was removed before sowing than in plots where topsoil was not removed (data reported as Bray-Curtis similarity). Vegetation cover did not differ significantly between plots where topsoil was removed (55%) or not removed (67%) before sowing. In 2009, all trees were removed from the site and soils were levelled. Topsoil was removed (to a depth of 20 cm) and seeds of three nurse plants were sown in three randomly selected 10 x 10 m plots. No topsoil was removed and seeds were sown in two 30-ha plots. Sheep grazing was reintroduced in 2010. In May 2012, vegetation was recorded in nine 2 x 2 m quadrats in plots where topsoil was removed and seeds sown, and in eighteen 2 x 2 m quadrats in plots where no topsoil was removed and seeds sown and in an adjacent intact steppe site.

     

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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