Article

Aquatic Ecology

, Volume 37, Issue 2, pp 191-209

The nature value of the ditch vegetation in peat areas in relation to farm management

  • W. TwiskAffiliated withInstitute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, Section Environmental Biology, Leiden University Email author 
  • , M.A.W. NoordervlietAffiliated withInstitute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, Section Environmental Biology, Leiden University
  • , W.J. ter KeursAffiliated withInstitute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences, Section Environmental Biology, Leiden University

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Abstract

Farmers can play an important role in enhancing the diversity of plant species in ditches, since they carry out most of the management. Little is known about the measures farmers can take to enhance aquatic biodiversity in ditches. Therefore, a field study was set up to determine how dredging, ditch cleaning, and nutrient supply in the adjacent fields affect the floristic values of the ditch vegetation in peat areas. A total of 240 ditches on 84 dairy farms were selected, to establish the effect of ditch cleaning, dredging, and nutrient supply. Generalised linear modelling was used to determine the most relevant factors, and to obtain quantitative relations between those factors and two indices of floristic value. Ditch management, field management, and water management were found to affect the floristic values of the ditch vegetation. Increasing the water depth proved to be the most cost-effective measure. Further improvements can be obtained by choosing certain machines or specific management periods, or reducing the N supply. The effect of the P supply is not yet sufficiently clear. The water boards can enhance floristic values by raising the ditch water table and by lowering the Cl concentration in the ditches.

Aquatic vegetation Ditch cleaning Dredging Nature conservation Nutrient supply Peat area