Vegetation Re-development After Fen Meadow Restoration by Topsoil Removal and Hay Transfer
Klimkowska, A. ; Kotowski, W. ; Diggelen, R. ; Grootjans, A.P. ; Dzierza, P. ; Brzezinska, K. - \ 2010
Restoration Ecology 18 (2010)6. - ISSN 1061-2971 - p. 924 - 933.
grassland productivity gradient - adhesive seed-dispersal - former arable fields - species richness - plant community - flood-meadow - wet meadows - soil - litter - establishment
We investigated the effects of different restoration treatments on the development of fen meadow communities: (1) depth of topsoil removal, with shallow (circa 20 cm) and deep (circa 40 cm) soil removal applied, (2) transfer of seed-containing hay, and (3) access of large animals. We carried out a full factorial experiment with all combinations of these factors and monitored it for 4 years. We studied the effect of seed availability in the soil seed bank on species abundance in the vegetation and compared it to the effect of species introduction by hay. We observed large differences in species composition between different treatments after 4 years. The combination of hay transfer, deep soil removal, and exclusion of large animals resulted in a community with highest similarity to the target vegetation. We found that the transfer of seeds with hay had a larger effect on species abundance than the soil seed bank. Hay transfer appeared to have important consequences on vegetation development because it speeded up the establishment of the target vegetation.
Can we balance the high costs of nature restoration with the method of topsoil removal? Case study from Poland
Klimkowska, A. ; Dzierza, P. ; Brzezinska, K. ; Kotowski, W. ; Medrzycki, P. - \ 2010
Journal for Nature Conservation 18 (2010)3. - ISSN 1617-1381 - p. 202 - 205.
fen-meadow - netherlands - germination - ecosystems
Topsoil removal is an effective, but also expensive method of nature restoration on fens and fen meadows. The high cost is a factor limiting the application of this method, especially in Central European countries, where investments in nature restoration are low. Can we partly balance the high costs of restoration with the method of topsoil removal, by utilising the degraded soil? We explore and roughly assess the benefits from re-using the removed soil. The cost limitation lies mainly in the transport. This is due to the difficulties of moving the soil within the project site and the often high costs of transporting and storing soil out of the site. The soil substrate can be utilised in forestry or horticulture, but is of rather poor quality, compared to commercially sold garden soil. In general, the respondents were not willing to pay for the substrate, pay much less than the price of commercial soil or they were not directly interested in using it. The assessment of possible gains in our case study indicated that, even if the soil is utilised in some way, the high costs cannot be fully balanced.
Methods of limiting willow shrub re-growth after initial removal on fen meadows
Klimkowska, A. ; Dzierza, P. ; Kotowski, W. ; Brzezinska, K. - \ 2010
Journal for Nature Conservation 18 (2010)1. - ISSN 1617-1381 - p. 12 - 21.
acute toxicity - management - restoration - vegetation - herbicides - biodiversity - grassland - roundup - fire - dynamics
Shrub removal is commonly used for management and restoration of species-rich fen meadows. A common problem after initial shrub cutting of willow is a vigorous re-sprouting and quick re-growth. In this paper we test experimentally what is an effective management option, limiting the re-growth of willow after cutting, on peat soils. In this experiment (split-plot set-up) we tested mowing of different intensity, removal of young shoots by hand and herbicide application, to find out which of them effectively limits willow re-growth. All applied treatments limited re-sprouting, but to different extents. We found that mowing had a strong, negative effect on increase in height of the shoots and on increase of the number of leaves, while an application of Roundup strongly limited the number of new shoots, in comparison with control. When all measured characteristics were accounted for, the combination of Roundup use and annual mowing was most effective. If the use of herbicide is to be avoided, intensive mowing in the first years (×2 or ×3) should be applied, followed by annual mowing. We concluded that removal of young shoots by hand did not have a stronger effect in weakening the willow re-growth than mowing. The treatment with herbicide application alone was not effective.
Prospects of fen restoration in relation to changing land use—An example from central Poland
Klimkowska, A. ; Dzierza, P. ; Grootjans, A.P. ; Kotowski, W. ; Diggelen, R. - \ 2010
Landscape and Urban Planning 97 (2010)4. - ISSN 0169-2046 - p. 249 - 257.
groundwater regime - temperate zone - vegetation - netherlands - management - mire - wet - floodplains - hydrology - nitrogen
We carried out an eco-hydrological analysis to evaluate the most important effects of land use changes on the hydrological functioning of a fen system in Poland. We measured water levels (hydraulic heads) and water flow along a transect through the study area and also analysed land use changes using historical maps. Major hydrological changes occurred after c. 1950 when a dense drainage network was constructed and in the last decade when large fishponds were built. Nowadays, water levels in most of the fens and fen meadows are too low and the fluctuations too large for a long-term preservation of fen ecosystems. The mean water tables range from 0.3 to 0.8 m below soil surface with fluctuations from 0.7 up to 1.5 m. A second important cause of the hydrological changes of the system was the afforestation of the adjacent infiltration areas leading to increased evapotranspiration and a decreased groundwater flow to the wetlands. Finally, a recent increase in groundwater abstraction for agricultural purposes has probably lowered the groundwater even further. We conclude that a full restoration of the fen is not possible under the present conditions. An alternative restoration goal could be conservation and restoration of species-rich fen meadows, but also then improving the hydrological conditions will be necessary. While the focus is often on the local factors influencing the restoration prospects of a fen system, the regional processes are at least equally important. In this paper we discuss an importance of both local and regional factors.