Restoration of hay meadows on ex-arable land : commercial seed mixtures vs. spontaneous succession

Lencová, K
Prach, K
Grass and Forage Science
Publication Year: 
In many areas of Europe there are policies to restore former arable land to grassland. In practice, this usually involves the use of commercial seed mixtures. The abundance of all vascular plants species in 35 ex-arable fields, sown with a commercial seed mixture or spontaneously revegetated, was studied in one landscape area to compare two methods of grassland restoration. Species abundance was also evaluated in the close surroundings of the fields. Data were processed using multivariate (ordination) and univariate statistics. Period of time since abandonment, size of the field and type of grassland restoration (sown vs. spontaneously revegetated) had a significant influence on vegetation. However, for the target meadow species, the type of restoration did not exhibit any influence. After about 20 years the contribution of meadow species that had established spontaneously in the studied fields was similar to that of their surroundings. We concluded that artificial sowing on ex-arable land is not necessary to develop semi-natural grasslands if (i) there are sources of appropriate diaspores in the immediate surroundings, (ii) the site is not very rich in nutrients and (iii) farmers do not need grass production immediately. In these situations and over this timescale natural regeneration would allow substantial savings of money and labour.
Name of Journal: 
Grass and Forage Science
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.