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Prach K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Jongepierova I.,Administration of the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area | Rehounkova K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic
Restoration Ecology | Year: 2013

Large-scale (circa 500 ha) restoration of species-rich dry grasslands was conducted using a high-diversity regional seed mixture in the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area and Biosphere Reserve, Czech Republic, Central Europe. After sowing, the restored grasslands were regularly mown. Vegetation was analyzed at sites restored 1-12 years ago and compared with that of ancient, extremely species-rich grasslands nearby. Nearly all (98%) sown target species successfully established and nearly half of unsown target species established spontaneously, partly dependent on distance to the ancient grasslands. Early mowing in the first half of June appeared to support species diversity and broad-leaved forbs at the expense of competitive grasses. Using a regional seed mixture appeared to be an effective way of restoring dry grasslands and is especially recommended in the proximity of still existing ancient grasslands where spontaneous establishment of unsown target species may reinforce the success of restoration more easily. © 2012 Society for Ecological Restoration International.

Klimes L.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Hajek M.,Masaryk University | Hajek M.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Mudrak O.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | And 6 more authors.
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2013

Question: Diversification of grassland management is recommended as a tool for conservation of different taxonomic groups living in those habitats. How resistant and resilient are species-rich grasslands in terms of plant species richness and vegetation composition to short-term, small-scale perturbations caused by changes in management practice? Location: Bílé Karpaty Mountains, SE Czech Republic. Methods: The experiment included the effect of six management regimes (mowing in June; mowing in September; mowing in June and September; mowing in June and high stubble left; no management; mowing in June and mulching). It was conducted in species-rich wooded grasslands in the White Carpathians Mts., Czech Republic, represented by three types of plant community: a Bromus erectus community (with high species richness and low productivity), a Molinia arundinacea community (with high species richness and high productivity), and a Calamagrostis epigejos community (with low species richness and high productivity). After 3 yr, resistance was assessed, and traditional management (mowing once each year in June) was resumed; resilience was evaluated after three more years. Results: While the species-rich, unproductive Bromus community was relatively resistant to less intensive management in terms of species richness, and therefore its resilience could not be assessed, it changed substantially in terms of vegetation composition (maximum dissimilarity between control and abandoned plots was 63%). The more productive Molinia and Calamagrostis communities lost up to 37% of species due to abandonment, but not as a consequence of other changes management regimes. After the traditional management was resumed, resilience was higher in the Calamagrostis community than in the Molinia community. Vegetation composition was not affected by treatments. Conclusions: The results show that short-term abandonment causes loss of plant diversity in productive grasslands but not in less productive, species-rich grasslands in the short term. Other relaxed management regimes (e.g. high stubble and delayed mowing) were comparable with the control and can be used for a short time to increase diversity of management without an effect on plant species richness. However, further research is needed to assess the effects of these management practices when they are applied repeatedly or over the long term. © 2013 International Association for Vegetation Science.

Mitchley J.,University of Reading | Jongepierova I.,Administration of the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area | Fajmon K.,Administration of the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area
Applied Vegetation Science | Year: 2012

Questions: How does sowing a regional seed mix compare with a commercial grass mix and natural regeneration for re-creating species-rich hay meadow vegetation? What is the trajectory of vegetation change of these treatments over 10 yr compared with ancient meadow vegetation on a nearby nature reserve? What factors indicate successful restoration on ex-arable land? Location: White Carpathian (Bílé Karpaty) Mountains, Czech Republic. Methods: In 1999 an experiment was set up to investigate methods of re-establishing species-rich meadow vegetation on ex-arable land. Large plots sown with a regional seed mixture (RSM) were compared with three other 'lower cost' treatments - sowing narrow 2.5-m wide strips of the RSM into a matrix of commercial grasses (RCG), sowing strips of RSM into a matrix of natural regeneration (RNR) and natural regeneration alone (NR). Results are presented for years 2000, 2004 and 2009. Results: Regional grass species established and persisted in cover and species number, regional herb species established and persisted in number but declined in cover. Perennial weeds increased in years 2000-2004 but had declined by 2009. The vegetation showed a gradual convergence in the direction of the ancient meadow vegetation and the vegetation was species-rich but a long way from the ancient meadow composition. Conclusions: The experiment demonstrated lasting benefits of regional seed mixtures, including rapid establishment of meadow species with no perennial weed stage, producing vegetation suitable for haymaking. However, sowing regional seed mixtures is the most expensive method and colonization of these plots by unsown target species was slow. Satisfactory results were achieved by the cheaper method of sowing strips of regional seed mixture in a matrix of natural regeneration or natural regeneration alone, and colonization by unsown target species was the more successful here, although some of this was due to colonization (cross-contamination) from adjacent plots. The poorest results were in the commercial grass treatments due to strong competition from sown commercial grasses. Overall, to achieve biodiversity goals in grassland restoration it is essential to use seeds of regional provenance. © 2012 International Association for Vegetation Science.

Prach K.,University of South Bohemia | Prach K.,Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic | Jongepierova I.,Administration of the White Carpathians Protected Landscape Area | Rehounkova K.,University of South Bohemia | And 2 more authors.
Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment | Year: 2014

Dry grasslands in the Protected Landscape Area and Biosphere Reserve of the White Carpathian Mts. in the eastern part of the Czech Republic, central Europe, belong to the species richest plant communities (on a scale of a few m2) in the world. Many of the grasslands were converted to arable land in the second half of the 20th century, but in the past two decades many of the arable fields have been re-grassed, most of them using commercial low-diversity clover-grass seed mixtures, some of them however by spontaneous succession or using a regional species-rich seed mixture. We asked how grasslands restored in various ways differ in their successional trajectories towards long-existing grasslands as reference sites, particularly in species richness and participation of target species.Altogether 35 grasslands restored with a regional seed mixture, 31 restored with commercial seed mixtures, and 16 restored by means of spontaneous succession were compared based on vegetation records (species cover in 5. m. ×. 5. m plots). The data were processed using multivariate statistics.Grasslands restored in the three different ways converged in their species composition and developed generally towards reference grasslands. Considering the number of target grassland species, sowing of regional seed mixtures was the most successful, especially in the beginning, but processes of spontaneous succession led virtually to the same number of target species, even at sites re-grassed with commercial seed mixtures, but more slowly. Development of sites re-grassed spontaneously and by sowing commercial seed mixtures led to the establishment of more mesic vegetation (Arrhenatherion) than when using the regional seed mixture, which was predominantly composed of species typical of dry grasslands (Bromion). Thus, restoration of the most valuable dry grasslands should preferably be based on using properly designed regional seed mixtures. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

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