1. We evaluated restoration success on macrophyte species diversity and composition in lowland streams using communities in 30 naturally meandering stream reaches in the western part of Jutland, Denmark, as reference target communities. Fuzzy set clustering was used to examine the floristic and environmental similarity among reaches, whereas fuzzy set ordination was used to relate floristic patterns to environmental variables.
2. Two major groups of streams were identified based on their floristic composition. One group consisted of reference and restored reaches and the other of the majority of channelised reaches. We found that management exerted a strong influence on the macrophyte communities and that the identified groups were related to differences in management intensity.
3. Our results also indicate that bank morphology and bed level affected macrophyte communities in the streams, particularly the richness and abundance of terrestrial species. The analyses performed suggest that shallow and wide banks allow for a larger migration of species from the stream banks into the streams, thereby enhancing species diversity within the stream channel.
4. The results of this study suggest that macrophyte communities in channelised lowland streams can recover following restorative interventions given that stream management (i.e. weed cutting and dredging) is minimised and that stream banks are reprofiled to improve the lateral connectivity between the stream and its valley.