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Vegetation development after a large scale restoration of species-rich grasslands in a Central European floodplain

Abstract

Large scale restoration using local high-diversity seed mixture combined with turf transfer was applied on ex-arable land in the Morava River floodplain in the western Slovakia in the years 1999–2012. The post-restoration vegetation development was recorded during 12 years after the restoration using floristic records per restored polygons with cover estimation in simple 3-degree scale. Temporal changes in species composition were evaluated by gradient analysis and number of characteristic grassland and ruderal species on restored sites was analysed by general linear models. Species composition changed gradually towards the species composition typical for species-rich floodplain grasslands, but the trajectory was not straightforward and several irregularities were observed. They were probably induced by extreme weather events (drought, floods). The decrease in ruderal species and increase in the number of typical floodplain grassland species were observed, when floodplain grassland species permanently outcompeted ruderal species since 8th year after the restoration. However the development in large scale was slower, than expected from previous small-scale experiments, it is evident, that combination of local seed mixture sowing with a turf transfer is a feasible method for the restoration of species-rich floodplain grasslands from arable land.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Miroslava Plassmann-Čierna and Mr. Masarovič for providing detailed information about restoration on the site and information about the ecological state of the restored sites. We are grateful to Jan Šuspa Lepš for many valuable comments on previous versions of the manuscript. The research was supported by Grant VEGA 0040/17.

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Correspondence to Dobromil Galvánek.

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Galvánek, D., Ripka, J. Vegetation development after a large scale restoration of species-rich grasslands in a Central European floodplain. Wetlands Ecol Manage 26, 373–381 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11273-017-9579-2

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Keywords

  • Cnidion alliance
  • Dispersal limitation
  • Ex-arable land
  • Succession
  • Central Europe