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Keywords:

  • grassland restoration;
  • regional seed mixture;
  • species diversity;
  • target species;
  • vegetation

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.