Restoration of a Landfill Site in Berlin, Germany by Spontaneous and Directed Succession


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We report on spontaneous and directed succession on a dry sandy landfill site of low fertility at Berlin-Malchow, Germany. Changes in species composition and cover were followed on unmown and mown permanent plots of 2 × 2 m size through 5 years of vegetation development. Species richness on unmown plots was relatively constant during the time of observation, with 20 to 25 species per 4 m2. Total cover of unmown plots continuously increased from approximately 10% in the first year to 80% in the fifth year. There are no clearly discernible sequential successional stages until present. The species composition includes species of all life forms, which colonized the site immediately after the initiation of the succession process representing the initial floristic composition type of vegetation development. However, perennial grasses and herbs gradually increased in cover up to approximately 40%. Woody plants were also present from the first year of succession and increased up to more than 20% cover in the fifth year, forming a shrub layer (>0.5 m) after the second year. Mowing significantly increased species richness, which was evident from the third year onward. This effect was mainly due to the reduction of the tall perennial grass Calamagrostis epigejos. Solidago canadensis and woody species were also significantly affected (lower cover and height), whereas short perennial herbs like Plantago lanceolata and Trifolium repens benefited from mowing.