Soil microbial community, fertility, vegetation and diversity as targets in the restoration management of a meadow grassland

  • Published source details Smith R.S., Shiel R.S., Bardgett R.D., Millward D., Corkhill P., Rolph G., Hobbs P.J. & Peacock S. (2003) Soil microbial community, fertility, vegetation and diversity as targets in the restoration management of a meadow grassland. Journal of Applied Ecology, 40, 51-64.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Sow native grass and forbs

Action Link
Grassland Conservation
  1. Sow native grass and forbs

    A replicated, randomized, paired, controlled study in 1990–2000 in a grazed meadow in Yorkshire, UK (Smith et al. 2003) found that sowing grass and forb seeds increased plant species richness and similarity of the plant community to the target habitat type. These results are not based on statistical analyses. In 25 of 30 comparisons, plant species richness was higher in areas where seeds were sown (17.8–26.7 species/4 m2) than in areas where no seeds were sown (15.4–20.5 species/4 m2). However, in five comparisons, species richness in sown areas (16.1–18.6 species/4 m2) was lower or equal to that found in unsown areas (17.2–19.6 species/4 m2). In 26 of 30 comparisons, similarity of the plant community was higher in areas where seeds were sown than in unsown areas, but in four comparisons similarity was equal or lower than that in unsown areas (data reported as model coefficient). The experiment consisted of three 36 × 12 m blocks, each containing twelve 6 × 6 m plots. In autumn 1990–1992, in each block, seeds of four species were sown in six plots and no seeds were sown in another six plots. Seeds were also sown in August 1998 and July 2000. From 1998, all plots were mowed annually in July. Starting in 1994, vegetation was surveyed every two years using four 2 × 2 m quadrats in each plot.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

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