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Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 616–626 | Cite as

Restoration management of abandoned chalk grassland in the Netherlands

  • Roland Bobbink
  • J. H. Willems
Papers

After abandonment of chalk grassland in the Netherlands, Brachypodium pinnatum had become very dominant and this resulted in a dramatic decrease of plant diversity. Restoration of these abandoned sites is important, because of its former high diversity with many nationally endangered species. To restore the chalk grassland vegetation, the impact of the introduction of different experimental cutting regimes was investigated during three years. The thick litter layer and the dominance of Brachypodium was strongly reduced after introduction of all cutting regimes. In all cutting treatments forb phytomass increased considerably, especially in the twice-a-year cutting vegetation, where the forb phytomass became as high as that of Brachypodium. Phanerogamic species diversity was stimulated in all cutting regimes. Especially the number of short-lived forbs. with a persistent seed bank, increased markedly in the twice-a-year cutting treatment. It is concluded that cutting the vegetation twice is adequate to reduce the negative effects of the thick litter layer and the abundant growth of Brachypodium. It creates an appropriate starting point for more detinite management, whether mowing or grazing. However, the restoration of a more complete species assortment strongly depends on the re-invasion possibilities of these species.

Keywords

diversity cutting regimes Brachypodium pinnatum dominance habitat restoration chalk grassland 

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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Bobbink
    • 1
  • J. H. Willems
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology, Section Environmental EcologyUniversity of NijmegenNijmegenThe Netherlands

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