Biodiversity and Conservation

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 621–630 | Cite as

Spontaneous regeneration of dry grasslands on set-aside fields

  • Jutta Stadler
  • Annette Trefflich
  • Roland Brandl
  • Stefan Klotz


Dry grasslands are among the most threatened plant communities of Central Europe. We explore the time scale of spontaneous regeneration of dry grasslands on abandoned fields in an area of Central Europe, where also ancient grassland communities occur (Saxony-Anhalt, Germany). On three permanent plots with shallow soils we monitored during 10 years change of species composition and analysed whether spontaneous succession leads to assemblages similar to the ancient dry grassland communities in the direct surroundings. We found that dry grassland species are able to invade the permanent plots and during the 10 years of succession the number of dry grassland species increased. But even after 10 years there was a clear difference between ancient dry grassland communities and the assemblages on the permanent plots. Our findings suggest two important conclusions: First, spontaneous succession on abandoned fields is a cheap possibility for the conservation of some dry grassland species, at least on shallow soils. Second, the time scale of the regeneration process, however, is rather long. Hence, conservation of remnants of ancient grassland communities needs special attention.


Abandoned fields Central Europe Restoration Species diversity Succession Time scale 


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Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jutta Stadler
    • 1
  • Annette Trefflich
    • 2
  • Roland Brandl
    • 3
  • Stefan Klotz
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Community EcologyCentre for Environmental Research Leipzig-HalleHalle/SaaleGermany
  2. 2.Centre for Environmental Research Leipzig-HalleHalle/SaaleGermany
  3. 3.Department of Animal Ecology, Faculty of BiologyPhilipps-University of MarburgMarburgGermany

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