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Debrecen, Hungary

Valko O.,DE TTK Okologiai Tanszek | Valko O.,Debrecen University | Vida E.,DE TTK Okologiai Tanszek | Vida E.,Debrecen University | And 11 more authors.
Journal of Landscape Ecology | Year: 2010

Sowing seed mixtures is a useful technique in grassland restoration in former arable fields. We studied the early vegetation dynamics of former croplands (sunflower and cereal fields) sown with low diversity seed mixtures (composed of 2 or 3 native grass species) in Egyek-Pusztakócs, Hortobágy, East-Hungary. In 10 restored fields the percentage cover of vascular plants was recorded in 4 permanent plots per field between 2006 and 2009. There were collected 10 aboveground biomass samples per field in June in every year. The target grasslands selected for baseline vegetation reference were alkali (Achilleo setaceae-Festucetum pseudovinae) and loess grasslands (Salvio nemorosae-Festucetum rupicolae). We addressed three questions: (i) How effective is the sowing of low-diversity seed mixtures on the species richness and diversity of short-lived weedy species? (ii) How fast is the establishment of a perennial grass dominated vegetation after sowing low diversity seed mixtures ? (iii) How influence the sowing of low diversity seed mixtures the short term biomass dynamics of short-lived species? Weedy species were characteristic in the first year after sowing. In the second and third year their cover and species richness decreased. From the second year onwards the cover of perennial grasses increased. The immigration of species characteristic to the reference grasslands was also detected. However, the noxious perennial weed, Cirsium arvense, was abundant in four sown fields even in the third year. The biomass of sown grasses and the litter increased significantly by the third year after sowing. The biomass of herbs decreased significantly from year to year due to the decline of cover of short-lived weedy species. Our results suggest that sowing low-diversity seed mixtures is effective in the suppression of short-lived weedy species. In case of Cirsium arvense further management is needed (e.g. mowing multiple times a year, early mowing). Source

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