2014. január 28., kedd

Kelemen et al. (2014) Biodiversity and Conservation

András Kelemen, Péter Török, Orsolya Valkó, Balázs Deák, Tamás Miglécz, Katalin Tóth, Tamás Ölvedi & Béla Tóthmérész (2014): Sustaining recovered grasslands is not likely without proper management: vegetation changes after cessation of mowing. Biodiversity and Conservation, in press. DOI: 10.1007/s10531-014-0631-8

Grasslands recovered by sowing low diversity seed mixtures of local provenance are usually managed by mowing. Besides restoration success only a few studies have focused on the direct effects of post-restoration mowing on recovered grassland vegetation. In this study we followed vegetation changes in 13 successfully recovered grasslands in 5 × 5-m-sized sites with continuous and ceased mowing at Hortobágy National Park, East-Hungary. We asked the following questions: (i) What are the effects of cessation of mowing on the vegetation structure and diversity of recovered grasslands? (ii) What are the effects of cessation of mowing on the abundance of sown grasses, target and undesirable species? (iii) Is yearly mowing an appropriate management tool for the maintenance of recovered grasslands? Our results showed that the cessation of mowing caused litter accumulation, while diversity, total vegetation cover and the cover of sown grasses decreased compared to the mown sites. The cover of undesirable perennial species was significantly higher in unmown sites than in mown ones. The species composition of mown sites remained more similar to near-natural grasslands than the unmown ones. Our results suggest that without regular post-restoration mowing the favourable status of recovered grasslands can rapidly decline due to litter accumulation and by the expansion of undesirable species, even in the short-run. We also stress that while yearly mowing is enough to maintain grasslands recovered by low-diversity seed sowing, it cannot be considered to be enough to recover target vegetation composition.

Grassland restoration, Seed sowing, Abandonment, Post-restoration management, Biodiversity, Cirsium arvense

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