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Restoration of Calluna vulgaris on grass-dominated moorlands: The importance of disturbance, grazing and seeding.

Mitchell, Ruth J.; Rose, Robert J.; Palmer, Stephen C. F.. 2008 Restoration of Calluna vulgaris on grass-dominated moorlands: The importance of disturbance, grazing and seeding. Biological Conservation, 141 (8). 2100-2111. 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.006

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Abstract/Summary

Calluna vulgaris-dominated heaths and moorlands are habitats of international conservation importance. Degradation has occurred throughout their range with Calluna typically being replaced by grass species. The cessation of grazing is often impractical and rarely results in the recovery of Calluna abundance when it is initially present at low cover. Thus the development of restoration methods is required; these should be practical at a large-scale, in remote areas and create suitable conditions for Calluna germination and establishment, whilst still allowing grazing to occur. A replicated field experiment was established on Nardus stricta and Molinia caerulea-dominated moorlands to test the efficacy of different grazing regimes and intervention techniques aimed at establishing Calluna. Disturbance (rotavation and trampling by animals) to create bare ground increased Calluna establishment. On the Nardus site, Calluna establishment was equally successful on rotavated and trampled plots, but rotavation was more successful on the Molinia site. Seeding with Calluna increased Calluna establishment irrespective of whether a seed-bank was present. At the Nardus site, 0.5 cow/ha for two months in summer led to Calluna establishment and growth similar to that of ungrazed plots and was more successful than a mixed grazing regime (1 ewe/ha plus 0.5 cow/ha for 2 months) or a sheep only regime (1.5 ewes/ha). The creation of small patches of bare ground, seed addition and low intensity grazing enabled the rapid establishment of Calluna on grass-dominated moorlands; such techniques may also be applicable in other habitats where restoration requires the addition of a single/few species and minimal intervention.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): 10.1016/j.biocon.2008.06.006
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity
CEH Sections: Watt
Parr
ISSN: 0006-3207
Additional Keywords: Trampling, Rotavation, Molinia caerulea, Nardus stricta, Degraded, Bare ground
NORA Subject Terms: Biology and Microbiology
Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Jan 2009 15:52
URI: http://nora.nerc.ac.uk/id/eprint/5741

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