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Fitosociologia numero 44 (2) S1

pag. 313-319: Improving the quality of NATURA 2000 - meadows: the contribution of seed bank and hay transfer

R. Buchwald1, A. Rath1, M. Willen1 & D. Gigante2

1Carl von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg, Germany

2Università degli Studi di Perugia, Borgo XX Giugno 74, I- 06121 Perugia

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abstract

In Central Europe a strong decline of poor, species-rich grassland takes place since 3-4 decades. However, long-term efforts on the (re-)establishment of species-rich meadows on former fields or intensively used grassland often fail or last more than 10-20 years, because of factors regarding content of soil nutrients, seed bank or dispersal. We present two case studies on meadow restoration studying the significance of seed bank and hay transfer for the improvement of SIC-habitats. We found that the seed bank of former fields is poor in individuals and numbers of grassland species, consisting mainly of weed and ruderal species. The seed bank of mountainous meadows is richer in grassland species, which, however, were found also in the present vegetation. Therefore, in concordance with similar studies, the seed bank hardly contributes to the (re-)establishment of species-rich meadows. In SW- and NW-Germany we studied hay transfer on 18 areas to create mesophilous meadows (Arrhenatheretum, Geranio-Trisetetum). In a pilot project 2004 we transferred species-rich hay from a donor meadow to three field areas at Tüllinger Berg. After 2-3 years many grassland species have colonized these areas while the number of weed and ruderal species has continously declined. As already shown for grassland of dry and wet habitats, hay transfer plays an important role also for the (re-)establishment of poor, mesophilous species-rich grassland.

keywords

hay transfer, meadows, re-establishment, restoration, seed bank, SIC habitats.