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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Cutting and litter removal enhances the performance of marsh violet Viola palustris and species diversity of an abandoned fen meadow on the Windberger flood plain, northwestern Germany

Published source details

Jensen K. & Meyer C. (2001) Effects of light competition and litter on the performance of Viola palustris and on species composition and diversity of an abandoned fen meadow. Plant Ecology, 155, 169-181


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Remove plant litter to maintain or restore disturbance Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1996–1998 in a degraded fen meadow in Germany (Jensen & Meyer 2001) reported that plots cleared of plant litter had higher plant species richness and diversity than plots where litter was not removed, but that community composition was similar under both treatments. These results are not based on tests of statistical significance. Over three years, litter-removal plots contained 18–19 plant species vs 15–16 in non-removal plots. Plant diversity was also higher in litter-removal plots (data reported as a diversity index). The overall plant community composition was initially similar in all plots, then changed over time but in a similar way in litter-removal and non-removal plots (data reported as a graphical analysis). In 1996, ten 2 m2 plots were established in an abandoned fen meadow. In May 1996, 1997 and 1998, all dead plant material was removed from five random plots. Dead plant material was left in the other five plots. Cover of every plant species was estimated annually, after litter removal, in each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)

Cut/mow herbaceous plants to maintain or restore disturbance Peatland Conservation

A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1996–1998 in a degraded fen meadow in Germany (Jensen & Meyer 2001) found that repeatedly clipped plots contained more species-rich and diverse vegetation than unclipped plots, and had a different community with more fen-characteristic plants. Over three years, plant species richness was significantly higher in clipped plots (17–23 species/2 m2) than unclipped plots (15–18 species/2 m2). Plant diversity was also higher in clipped plots (data reported as a diversity index). Overall plant community composition was initially similar in all plots but diverged over time. In clipped plots, shorter herbaceous species characteristic of fens and wet meadows became more abundant, taller sedges and reeds less so (data reported as a graphical analysis; changes not tested for statistical significance). Twenty 2 m2 plots were established in an abandoned fen meadow. In ten random plots, vegetation was manually clipped (5–10 cm above the ground) every summer between 1996 and 1998. Ten plots were unclipped controls. Litter was removed from half of the plots in each treatment. Cover of every plant species was estimated annually, after clipping, in each plot.

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)