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Ashford, United Kingdom

Craig M.,Ruotutorppa 6 B 19 | Buckley P.,8 Long Row | Howell R.,Poplar Cottage
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2015

Questions: Do woodland field layer communities reassemble effectively after being translocated from a donor to a receptor site? Does the method of soil handling (turfing or loose-tipping) or the season of transfer determine the outcome? Location: A deciduous ancient coppice woodland in Kent, southeast England. Methods: Two methods of soil translocation were compared: loose-tipping, involving stripping a layer of topsoil and re-spreading it at a receptor site; and soil placement, in which soil turves were cut and laid intact. The operation also provided an opportunity to observe the effects of seasonal translocation, respectively, in autumn and spring. Soil compaction, texture and chemistry were assessed after translocation, while vegetation cover changes were followed over a 10-yr period. Results: Immediately after soil transfer, the vegetation community reverted to an earlier successional stage, with bare ground rapidly colonized by annuals and biennials, many germinating from the soil seed bank. By the third year after translocation, a perennial vegetation cover had developed comprising grasses and woodland-edge opportunists as well as most of the original woodland species. After 10 yr, bramble (Rubus fruticosus agg.) dominated the receptor sites, along with the woodland geophyte bluebell (Hyacinthoides non-scripta), while some woodland species became less abundant. Localized soil compaction radically altered species composition. Autumn translocation promoted better immediate recovery of forest species than spring translocation, while soil placement caused less initial damage than loose-tipping. Convergence in vegetation composition in all soil handling treatments was observed towards canopy closure. Conclusions: Results illustrate the importance of conducting translocation operations in the autumn when the vegetation is dormant and soil moisture is low, and point to the need for sensitive soil handling. After 10 yr the field layer at the receptor site still resembled that of the donor, but with differences in abundance of some individual species. © 2015 International Association for Vegetation Science. Source

Craig M.,Ruotutorppa 6 B 19 | Buckley G.P.,8 Long Row
Plant Ecology | Year: 2013

Topsoil transfer is an important tool in ecological restoration, but as a technique for re-locating woodland habitats displaced by development works it would appear highly damaging to geophytes present in the field layer. The effect of moving soil using different handling techniques was simulated in pot experiments with two common geophytes, Hyacinthoides non-scripta (L.) Chouard ex Rothm. and Anemone nemorosa L., while longer term changes in Hyacinthoides populations were also followed at an active woodland translocation field site in South East England, UK. In the pot experiment, artificially damaging Hyacinthoides bulbs restricted their performance, as did planting at sub-optimal depths and orientations, but Anemone rhizomes were little affected either by damage or displacement. Provided that they were able to produce leaves and thus re-allocate biomass to their perennating organs, recovery of both species was rapid in the following season. In the field, Hyacinthoides bulb densities also eventually recovered to levels reported in semi-natural woodlands in autumn-translocated soil profiles, although bulb biomass was still significantly lower in spring-moved treatments after three growing seasons. The parent bulbs rapidly adjusted their orientation and depth in the soil profile and were enhanced by natural seedling recruitment. The results suggest that, provided careful soil handling protocols are followed, these woodland geophytes have the capacity to recover if soil translocation is restricted to their dormant period. In the longer term, the sudden change from woodland to open conditions may be detrimental and may increase competition from non-woodland species. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht. Source

Mutabaruka C.,51 Hurst Road | Cook H.F.,40 Milton Road | Buckley G.P.,8 Long Row
IForest | Year: 2016

Scions taken from felled, shaken or sound sweet chestnut trees (Castanea sativa Mill.) were grafted and grown for one year in a polythene tunnel in order to compare their responses to water and nutrient stresses. Phenological characteristics of the original trees were strongly reproduced in the grafts grown both in this controlled environment and later on in the field. Grafts originating from shaken trees flushed up to six days later, senesced earlier and produced larger spring vessels. Artificially imposed drought reduced stomatal densities by 5.6% and xylem vessel diameters by up to 35%. Fertiliser additions significantly increased stem increments and promoted earlier flowering, with hermaphrodite flowering filaments more common in grafts from shaken trees. It is considered that, because of their larger spring vessels, shaken trees may be more vulnerable to cavitation and therefore to drought, even though moisture stress is mitigated by some plasticity in earlywood vessel diameter. © SISEF. Source

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