Restoration mowing of a calcareous fen — response of species to re-applied management measures
Calcareous fens are habitats that are well-adapted to extreme ecological conditions (water with a very high calcium content). The vegetation response following the application of restoration measures (mowing, removal of shrubs) in a calcareous fen (site Sliačske travertíny, western Carpathians) was observed over six years in six permanent plots. Three plots were established in an area strongly invaded by reeds (Phragmites australis), where restoration mowing was introduced, and three plots were established in an area overgrown by willows, where the shrubs were partly removed at the beginning and no other management measures were subsequently applied. Indirect and direct gradient analyses (Principal Component Analysis and Redundancy Analysis) and General Linear Models showed that species composition in the mown reed area evolved towards the typical composition of calcareous fens, although reeds were still dominant in the canopy. The overall species richness, as well as number of fen indicator species increased here, especially on the most-detailed scale of 0.25 × 0.25 m. In contrast, the species composition in the unmown area with willows developed towards a higher abundance of wetland generalists. The species richness of vascular plants increased on the scale of 2 × 2 m, but the number of bryophyte species decreased on the scale of 0.25 × 0.25 m and the number of fen indicators species remained unchanged. Our survey showed that mowing can be used for the restoration of calcareous fens invaded by reed, but the total supression of reed can not be achieved in short time period. Furthermore, the occasional removal of shrubs on overgrown calcareous fens is not a feasible method of habitat management.
Key wordsCaricion davallianae invasion mineral-rich spring sub-halophytes Slovakia
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We would like to thank J. Janoviak and A. Devečka for help with sampling and we are also grateful to M. Jasík and P. Turis for their assistance with the establishment of monitoring plots. We thank Petra Hájková for comments on a previous version of the manuscript. The study was partly financed by the State Nature Conservancy of the Slovak Republic and was supported by VEGA project 2/0999/13. The preparation of the manuscript was partly financed by the grant SK0115 through the European Economic Area Financial Mechanism and the Norwegian Financial Mechanism and from the state budget of the Slovak Republic.
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