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Keywords:

  • Alopecurus pratensis-Sanguisorba officinalis community;
  • Conservation;
  • Persistent seed bank;
  • Seed longevity;
  • Stratification;
  • Transient seed bank
  • Chancellor (1966);
  • Müller (1978);
  • Clapham et al. (1987)

Abstract. This paper focuses on the persistence of seeds in the seed bank of a formerly fertilized flood-meadow into which seeds from an original Alopecurus pratensis-Sanguisorba officinalis community have been introduced. The longevity of seeds in the seed bank of the original community is also estimated. The established vegetation was compared with the seed bank, as divided into two layers (0 - 5 cm and 5–10 cm); this allowed a classification of species into three groups, with (1) transient, (2) short-term persistent and (3) long-term persistent seed bank. The majority of the species of the unfertilized flood-meadow community have a transient or short-term persistent seed bank with seeds showing a large variance in shape i.e. flattened or elongate. Because of this, the characteristic flood-meadow species will disappear soon after the beginning of fertilizer application and will not re-establish from the seed bank, once the fertilizer application is ceased. The formerly fertilized flood-meadow contains many ruderal and arable weed species, the seeds of which tend to be compact or round. Significantly more seeds were found in the seed bank of the formerly fertilized flood-meadow under cattle-grazing than under sheep-grazing and no grazing.