Restoration of flooded meadows in Estonia – vegetation changes and management indicators
Article first published online: 13 DEC 2011
© 2011 International Association for Vegetation Science
Applied Vegetation Science
Special Issue: Vegetation Restoration, Edited by Norbert Hölzel, Elise Buisson & Thierry Dutoit
Volume 15, Issue 2, pages 231–244, April 2012
How to Cite
Metsoja, J.-A., Neuenkamp, L., Pihu, S., Vellak, K., Kalwij, J. M., Zobel, M. (2012), Restoration of flooded meadows in Estonia – vegetation changes and management indicators. Applied Vegetation Science, 15: 231–244. doi: 10.1111/j.1654-109X.2011.01171.x
- Issue published online: 5 MAR 2012
- Article first published online: 13 DEC 2011
- Manuscript Accepted: 26 OCT 2011
- Manuscript Received: 28 FEB 2011
- European Union
- Centre of Excellence FIBIR
- Community composition;
- Indicator species;
- Spatial turnover, Proportion of graminoids;
- Species richness
How does restoration management affect vegetation diversity and composition in flooded meadows, and can plant species serve as indicators of management status?
Flooded meadows in Alam-Pedja Nature Reserve, central Estonia (26°14′ E, 58°28′ N).
Plant community composition was described in 2000 and 2010 for restored and unmanaged stands of mesic, wet and tall sedge meadows, encompassing a survey of 280 vegetation plots of 1 m × 1 m. The impact of restoration management (mulching for first 5 yrs, mowing in Jul with hay removal in consecutive years) on vegetation diversity in different meadow types was estimated using general linear models, changes in plant community composition were described by NMDS ordination, multiple permutation tests and Indicator species analysis.
Restoration management resulted in an increase in species richness on mesic meadows in one of the study sites, and caused a decrease in spatial species turnover and significant changes in community composition in all sites. The effects of restoration on species composition were greater in drier, more elevated mesic meadows, and least prominent in tall sedge meadows in floodplain depressions. Indicator species analysis revealed Ranunculus auricomus as a common indicator of management in mesic and wet meadows, and Carex cespitosa and Calamagrostis canescens as indicators of abandonment in wet and tall sedge meadows, respectively.
Restoration management was successful on flooded meadows that had been abandoned for 15–20 yrs, where water regime and soil fertility have not been altered by human activities, and where the local species pool is still available. The current community composition under different management regimes made it possible to propose several species as management status indicators, which may further be used in practical decision-making when evaluating the status of meadow communities.