Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land

Woodcock, Ben A. ORCID:; Mortimer, Simon R.; Edwards, Andrew R.; Lawson, Clare S.; Westbury, Duncan B.; Brook, Alex J.; Harris, Stephanie J.; Brown, Valerie K.. 2008 Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land. In: Schroder, Hans G., (ed.) Grasslands: Ecology, Management & Restoration. Nova Science Publishers, Inc, 20pp.

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During the last century changing patterns of land use in the UK have led to the large scale loss and degradation of species-rich chalk grasslands, a habitat of conservation importance across Europe. In particular, the conversion of chalk grasslands into arable land has represented a major threat to this habitat type. The re-creation of chalk grasslands on ex-arable land therefore has the potential to both increase the area of this threatened habitat, and to provide links between existing remnant fragments. We present a four year study investigating the effects of three different methods of introducing plant species during grassland re-creation: 1) a simple grass seed mix, intended to suppress the establishment of pernicious weeds; 2) spreading of hay; 3) sowing of brush harvested seeds. The latter two methods introduce local provenance seeds collected from species-rich chalk grassland. Using a replicated block design we investigate the efficacy of these management practices in promoting the re-creation of both plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages. We compare re-creation success relative to a target chalk grassland and contrast differences in the responses between these two trophic levels. The introduction of local provenance seeds by hay spreading and brush harvesting is shown to be beneficial during re-creation. However, if used in combination with simple grass-only seed mixtures the establishment of some chalk grassland species may be reduced. We discuss the relevance of these findings for the re-creation of plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages of species-rich grasslands on ex-arable land. We also consider the implications of differences in establishment rates between these two taxa for the long term success of habitat creation.

Item Type: Publication - Book Section
Programmes: CEH Programmes pre-2009 publications > Biodiversity > BD01 Conservation and Restoration of Biodiversity > BD01.4 Management of species and ecosystems
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Pywell
ISBN: 9781606920244
Additional Keywords: brush harvesting, Chalk grassland, hay spreading, hay strewing, Leaf beetles, re-creation, seed mixes, Weevils
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 04 Feb 2009 15:21 +0 (UTC)

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