Botanica Helvetica

, Volume 117, Issue 2, pp 159–167

Geringe Samenbank von beweidbaren Arten für die Etablierung von Waldweiden im Schweizer Mittelland


DOI: 10.1007/s00035-007-0815-x

Cite this article as:
Kipfer, T. & Bosshard, A. Bot. Helv. (2007) 117: 159. doi:10.1007/s00035-007-0815-x


Kipfer T. and Bosshard A. 2007. Low seed bank of herb species suitable for grazing hampers the establishment of wood pastures in the Swiss lowlands. Bot. Helv. 117: 159 – 167.

Controlled forest grazing is expected to yield benefits for biodiversity conservation, landscape quality, and in some cases also for land use economy. In the Swiss lowlands, first attempts are being made to reintroduce forest grazing in productive beech forests, but methodic experience is still limited. One main issue concerns the development of the vegetation after forest stands have been thinned to improve light conditions: Will grassland vegetation establish spontaneously? The present study analyses the composition of the soil seed bank of four beech forest stands. The seed bank density ranged from 1’244 to 28’651 seeds m−2. Seed banks mainly consisted of forest and ruderal species; most abundant were Juncus effusus, Carex sylvatica, Rubus spp. and Clematis vitalba. Seeds of grassland plants were restricted to a few species, and their abundance in the seed bank decreased rapidly with increasing distance from the forest edge. These results reveal that there is little potential for grasslands to develop spontaneously from the seed bank. The introduction of grassland species of local origin using the green hay method is therefore recommended to prevent soil degradation during the first years of grazing, to fulfil minimal biodiversity requirements and to lower the risk of an establishment of neophytes and other problematic plant species.


Biodiversity Fagetalia forest grazing seed input vegetation development forest soil 

Supplementary material

35_2007_815_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (65 kb)
ESM (PDF 66 kb)

Copyright information

© Birkhaeuser 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für UmweltwissenschaftenUniversität ZürichZürichSwitzerland
  2. 2.Eidg. Forschungsanstalt WSLBirmensdorfSwitzerland

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