Restoration success of British floodplain meadows

Rothero, Emma and Tatarenko, Irina (2018). Restoration success of British floodplain meadows. In: Aspects of Applied Biology 139: Ecosystem & Habitat Management: Research, Policy, Practice, Association of Applied Biologists, Warwick pp. 139–148.



The Floodplain Meadows Partnership started a national survey (England and Wales) of floodplain-meadow restoration in 2016 by visiting 52 restoration fields. These fields encompassed a wide range of restoration methods and histories, with different degrees of success when evaluated against MG4 grassland as the main target plant community. Of the 52 fields visited, 21 were considered to be progressing well, whilst the remaining 31 had at least one issue that obstructed successful restoration. These issues can be broadly classified as: suboptimal management (39%), excessive nutrient availability (26%), excessive waterlogging (19%) and use of suboptimal propagules (16%). Maintenance of the soil-nutrient balance within the range recommended for the MG4 community should greatly improve the success rate of restoration projects. If nutrient levels on the site are excessive, an early hay cut in June, or double hay cut, should be considered as the most efficient methods for bringing the nutrient balance to the target for the plant community. The survey showed that different species vary greatly in their rate of establishment. Vegetation of MG6, MG7 and MG9 grasslands, according to the National Vegetation Classification, was most widely represented on the restoration sites. MG4 and MG8 plant communities were each recorded in less than 3% of fields.

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