Long-term trends in restored moorland vegetation assemblages

N. A. Littlewood, S. Greenwood, S. L. O. Quin, R. J. Pakeman, S. J. Woodin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Restoration of moors dominated by Calluna vulgaris is carried out for conservation and sporting reasons. Previous research has shown variable restoration success in the early years of restoration management. In this study we investigated whether restored heather moorland vegetation increasingly resembles long-established moorland vegetation over a longer time period. Vegetation at seven moorland restoration sites (six in northern England and one in Scotland) was sampled in 2003 (to assess short-term restoration success) and 2010 (to assess long-term restoration success). Three of these sites were restored solely by grazing control and four by a suite of more intensive techniques. On each visit, vegetation sampling was carried out in degraded, restored and long-established control areas at each site. Restored vegetation assemblages closely resembled control assemblages. The samples were, though, dominated by the species targeted for management, Molinia caerulea and Nardus stricta in degraded samples and Calluna vulgaris in control samples. Discounting these species and concentrating on the remainder of the vegetation assemblage, areas restored solely by the reduction or removal or sheep grazing more closely resembled control assemblages whilst those managed more intensively were more intermediate between degraded and control assemblages. There was no systematic pattern of change in restored areas between the sampling dates. At two sites restored samples become more similar to control samples whilst restored samples at other sites either showed little change or moved back towards a degraded assemblage. Thus whilst moorland restoration can succeed in re-establishing C. vulgaris, we found no evidence of a systematic shift in the remainder of the vegetation assemblage towards that of a long-established moor over the time period studied.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)104-112
Number of pages9
JournalCommunity Ecology
Volume15
Issue number1
Early online date14 Mar 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2014

Fingerprint

moorland
heathlands
vegetation
Calluna vulgaris
sampling
grazing
Nardus stricta
Molinia caerulea
long-term trend
restoration
sheep
concentrating
Scotland
England

Keywords

  • Calluna Vulgaris
  • grazing
  • heather
  • heathland
  • Molinia caerulea
  • Nardus stricta
  • plant community
  • upland

Cite this

Littlewood, N. A., Greenwood, S., Quin, S. L. O., Pakeman, R. J., & Woodin, S. J. (2014). Long-term trends in restored moorland vegetation assemblages. Community Ecology, 15(1), 104-112. https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.15.2014.1.11

Long-term trends in restored moorland vegetation assemblages. / Littlewood, N. A.; Greenwood, S.; Quin, S. L. O.; Pakeman, R. J.; Woodin, S. J.

In: Community Ecology, Vol. 15, No. 1, 06.2014, p. 104-112.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Littlewood, NA, Greenwood, S, Quin, SLO, Pakeman, RJ & Woodin, SJ 2014, 'Long-term trends in restored moorland vegetation assemblages', Community Ecology, vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 104-112. https://doi.org/10.1556/ComEc.15.2014.1.11
Littlewood, N. A. ; Greenwood, S. ; Quin, S. L. O. ; Pakeman, R. J. ; Woodin, S. J. / Long-term trends in restored moorland vegetation assemblages. In: Community Ecology. 2014 ; Vol. 15, No. 1. pp. 104-112.
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abstract = "Restoration of moors dominated by Calluna vulgaris is carried out for conservation and sporting reasons. Previous research has shown variable restoration success in the early years of restoration management. In this study we investigated whether restored heather moorland vegetation increasingly resembles long-established moorland vegetation over a longer time period. Vegetation at seven moorland restoration sites (six in northern England and one in Scotland) was sampled in 2003 (to assess short-term restoration success) and 2010 (to assess long-term restoration success). Three of these sites were restored solely by grazing control and four by a suite of more intensive techniques. On each visit, vegetation sampling was carried out in degraded, restored and long-established control areas at each site. Restored vegetation assemblages closely resembled control assemblages. The samples were, though, dominated by the species targeted for management, Molinia caerulea and Nardus stricta in degraded samples and Calluna vulgaris in control samples. Discounting these species and concentrating on the remainder of the vegetation assemblage, areas restored solely by the reduction or removal or sheep grazing more closely resembled control assemblages whilst those managed more intensively were more intermediate between degraded and control assemblages. There was no systematic pattern of change in restored areas between the sampling dates. At two sites restored samples become more similar to control samples whilst restored samples at other sites either showed little change or moved back towards a degraded assemblage. Thus whilst moorland restoration can succeed in re-establishing C. vulgaris, we found no evidence of a systematic shift in the remainder of the vegetation assemblage towards that of a long-established moor over the time period studied.",
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note = "Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to the British Ecological Society, the Moorland Research Forum and the Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate of the Scottish Government who funded this research and to landowners and site managers for allowing access to sites. Thanks also to R. Mitchell whose comments significantly improved an early version of this paper.",
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N1 - Acknowledgements: Thanks are due to the British Ecological Society, the Moorland Research Forum and the Rural and Environment Research and Analysis Directorate of the Scottish Government who funded this research and to landowners and site managers for allowing access to sites. Thanks also to R. Mitchell whose comments significantly improved an early version of this paper.

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N2 - Restoration of moors dominated by Calluna vulgaris is carried out for conservation and sporting reasons. Previous research has shown variable restoration success in the early years of restoration management. In this study we investigated whether restored heather moorland vegetation increasingly resembles long-established moorland vegetation over a longer time period. Vegetation at seven moorland restoration sites (six in northern England and one in Scotland) was sampled in 2003 (to assess short-term restoration success) and 2010 (to assess long-term restoration success). Three of these sites were restored solely by grazing control and four by a suite of more intensive techniques. On each visit, vegetation sampling was carried out in degraded, restored and long-established control areas at each site. Restored vegetation assemblages closely resembled control assemblages. The samples were, though, dominated by the species targeted for management, Molinia caerulea and Nardus stricta in degraded samples and Calluna vulgaris in control samples. Discounting these species and concentrating on the remainder of the vegetation assemblage, areas restored solely by the reduction or removal or sheep grazing more closely resembled control assemblages whilst those managed more intensively were more intermediate between degraded and control assemblages. There was no systematic pattern of change in restored areas between the sampling dates. At two sites restored samples become more similar to control samples whilst restored samples at other sites either showed little change or moved back towards a degraded assemblage. Thus whilst moorland restoration can succeed in re-establishing C. vulgaris, we found no evidence of a systematic shift in the remainder of the vegetation assemblage towards that of a long-established moor over the time period studied.

AB - Restoration of moors dominated by Calluna vulgaris is carried out for conservation and sporting reasons. Previous research has shown variable restoration success in the early years of restoration management. In this study we investigated whether restored heather moorland vegetation increasingly resembles long-established moorland vegetation over a longer time period. Vegetation at seven moorland restoration sites (six in northern England and one in Scotland) was sampled in 2003 (to assess short-term restoration success) and 2010 (to assess long-term restoration success). Three of these sites were restored solely by grazing control and four by a suite of more intensive techniques. On each visit, vegetation sampling was carried out in degraded, restored and long-established control areas at each site. Restored vegetation assemblages closely resembled control assemblages. The samples were, though, dominated by the species targeted for management, Molinia caerulea and Nardus stricta in degraded samples and Calluna vulgaris in control samples. Discounting these species and concentrating on the remainder of the vegetation assemblage, areas restored solely by the reduction or removal or sheep grazing more closely resembled control assemblages whilst those managed more intensively were more intermediate between degraded and control assemblages. There was no systematic pattern of change in restored areas between the sampling dates. At two sites restored samples become more similar to control samples whilst restored samples at other sites either showed little change or moved back towards a degraded assemblage. Thus whilst moorland restoration can succeed in re-establishing C. vulgaris, we found no evidence of a systematic shift in the remainder of the vegetation assemblage towards that of a long-established moor over the time period studied.

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