The upper courses of brook valley systems harbour Nardo-Galion saxatilis communities characteristic of oligotrophic soils under low-intensity farming. Most of these communities have disappeared under intensified farming i.e. application of fertilizers. We studied the possibilities of restoration i.e. re-establishment of the former plant community by adopting various cutting regimes after the cessation of fertilization in 1972. The various cutting regimes revealed different effects after 25 yr. Regimes with cutting every second year with or without removal of the swath, and complete abandonment deviated from the other regimes that included annual haymaking with different frequency and timing. The latter group of cutting regimes came closer to the community of an adjacent field where fertilization stopped in 1967. This field in turn harboured several Nardo-Galion species after 25 yr of annual cutting, and showed more resemblance with a local reference community (at a distance of 500 m) that had not been fertilized since the 1940s. The local reference still does not match poorly developed Nardo-Galion saxatilis communities found in the region of ca. 50 km around the study area, and is far from well developed Nardo-Galion communities in the same region. The study site still harbours several species characteristic of eutrophic soil and few species characteristic of oligotrophic soil after 25 yr of annual cutting and removal of the swath. The soil seed bank harbours only few target species. Although species characteristic of oligotrophic soil are present in an adjacent field and Nardo-Galion saxatilis species occur at 500 m, they have not (yet) established in the target area.Nomenclature: van der Meijden(1990) .
|Journal||Applied Vegetation Science|
|Publication status||Published - 2002|