Restoration of Wet Dune Slacks on the Dutch Wadden Sea Islands: Recolonization After Large-Scale Sod Cutting



The effects of sod cutting were studied in a dune area on the Dutch Wadden Sea Island of Texel. Sod cutting was carried out in a range of different dune slacks in order to restore dune slack vegetation with many endangered Red List species. Sod cutting removed approximately 96% of the soil seed bank. Species abundant in the seed bank, notably Juncacea, also had a high frequency in the vegetation that established during the first year after the restoration measures. Many other species not registered in the seed bank or in the former vegetation also appeared. Species richness in the monitored plots exceeded that of uncut reference plots after a few years. Colonization rates were higher than extinction rates in most plots, indicating that a stable state has not been reached after 5 years. Differences in species richness between slacks appeared to be related to the occurrence of source areas nearby and availability of dispersal agents, such as flooding and animals.