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Impact of Rewetting on the Vegetation of a Cut-Away Peatland

Eeva-Stiina Tuittila, Harri Vasander and Jukka Laine
Applied Vegetation Science
Vol. 3, No. 2 (Dec., 2000), pp. 205-212
Published by: Wiley
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1478999
Page Count: 8
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Impact of Rewetting on the Vegetation of a Cut-Away Peatland
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Abstract

We tested whether rewetting improved environmental conditions during peatland restoration and promoted colonization and development of mire vegetation. Vegetation change was monitored in a cut-away peatland one year before, and four years after, rewetting. Colonizers before rewetting were perennials, mostly typical of hummocks or bare peat surfaces. The main variation in vegetation was related to variation in the amounts of major nutrients and water table level. The wettest site with the highest nutrient level had the highest total vegetation cover and diversity, as well as some species typical of wet minerotrophic mires. Raising the water table level above, or close to, the soil surface promoted development of wet minerotrophic vegetation. Diversity initially decreased because of the disappearance of hummock vegetation but started to recover in the third year. Eriophorum vaginatum and Carex rostrata were both favoured, and bryophytes typical of wet habitats colonized the site. Moderate rewetting promoted the development of Eriophorum vaginatum seedlings and an increase in the cover of tussocks. Bryophytes typical of disturbed peat surfaces spread. In the control site development continued slowly towards closed hummock vegetation. The study showed that raising the water level to, or above, soil surface promotes conditions wet enough for a rapid succession towards closed mire vegetation.

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