Autori: Schmiede, R., Ruprecht, E., Eckstein, R.L., Otte, A., Donath, T.W.
Editorial: Biological Conservation, 159, p.222-229, 2013.
The transfer of freshly cut seed-containing plant material is a widely applied method to re-establish grassland of high biodiversity. Still, the amount of plant material applied varies greatly across restoration projects. Therefore, we set up a two-year common garden experiment where we assessed the effect of plant material amount (0, 400, 800, 1600, 3200 g m_2) and relative seed position (on top and beneath a litter layer) on seedling establishment, seedling fate and seedling fitness of eight target species for restoration of alluvial meadows.
Most seedlings (85.6%) emerged within the first year. Cumulative seedling emergence and final seedling establishment across all species were highest on control plots and low litter plots but were very low or failed completely, at 1600 and 3200 g m_2, respectively. In general, large-seeded species were significantly more successful than smaller seeded species. Relative seed position had only a small impact on seedling emergence and establishment but was decisive for seedling survival at high litter quantities. Across all species, seedlings that died had a significantly lower relative height than surviving seedlings. Interestingly, co-occurring resident grassland vegetation had a neutral rather than negative impact on the response variables.
Our results suggest an upper threshold of 1000 g m_2 for the amount of plant material applied in grassland restoration, since higher amounts will inhibit seedling establishment. The prompt emergence of most seedlings during the first vegetation period highlights the importance of creating optimal conditions for seedling establishment already in the early phase of vegetation development on restoration sites.
Cuvinte cheie: Grassland restoration, Invasibility, Litter quantity, Seed size, Seedling emergence