Restoration of upland hay meadows over an 11‐year chronosequence: an evaluation of the success of green hay transfer

ELIZABETH SULLIVAN, Noah Hall, PAUL ASHTON

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2 Citations (Scopus)
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Abstract

Grassland restoration has become a key tool in addressing the drastic losses of seminatural grassland since the mid‐twentieth century. This study examined the restoration by green hay transfer of upland hay meadows, a particularly scarce and vulnerable habitat, over an 11‐year chronosequence. The community composition of 18 restoration meadows was compared with that of donor reference sites in two study areas in the Pennine region of northern England. The study investigated: differences in community composition between donor and restoration meadows; transfer of upland hay meadow target species; and the effect of time and isolation from neighboring meadows on the community composition of the restoration meadows. Results showed that restoration meadows differed from donor meadows in that some target species were easily transferred whilst others were not found in the restoration meadows, or were at low levels of cover. Time had a significant effect on the community composition of the restoration meadows, but the similarity between restoration sites and donor sites did not increase with time, and the effect of isolation was not significant. The study showed that the green hay transfer method increases botanical diversity and is an important first step in meadow restoration. However, further restoration activity, such as seed addition, is likely to be required if restoration sites are to resemble closely the reference donor sites.
Original languageEnglish
JournalRestoration Ecology
Early online date14 Oct 2019
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2019

Keywords

  • community composition
  • donor sites
  • restoration sites
  • similarity
  • target species
  • time

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