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Control of Bracken and the Restoration of Heathland. II. Regeneration of the Heathland Community

R. H. Marrs and J. E. Lowday
Journal of Applied Ecology
Vol. 29, No. 1 (1992), pp. 204-211
DOI: 10.2307/2404362
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2404362
Page Count: 8
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Control of Bracken and the Restoration of Heathland. II. Regeneration of the Heathland Community
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Abstract

1. This paper describes the effectiveness of a range of bracken control and heathland restoration treatments (cutting, spraying with asulam, and seed sowing, in factorial combination) at a Calluna and a grass heath in Breckland over 10 years. 2. In the grass heath, 13 species were recorded during the 10 years, although in most plots two species were dominant: Festuca ovina which was sown, and Deschampsia flexuosa which colonized naturally. Festuca ovina rapidly colonized the seeded plots, but Deschampsia flexuosa appeared 5 years later. After 10 years D. flexuosa was co-dominant on many plots. 3. On the Calluna heath, 13 vascular and three bryophyte species were found. The sown species Calluna was found mainly on seeded plots, especially where the bracken was cut. Agrostis capillaris, Dicranum scoparium and Galium saxatile were most abundant on plots where the bracken was cut twice yearly. Other species appeared independent of treatment, reflecting low abundance, ubiquitous distributions, or clumped distributions. Two clonal species, Carex arenaria and Calamagrostis epigejos, invaded in large patches where cover of other heath species was negligible. 4. Most of the species colonizing the restored areas had higher Ellenberg nitrogen-indicator values than the dominant heathland species, indicating that soil fertility may be too high for successful heathland restoration. 5. The results are discussed in relation to practical conservation management and vegetation dynamics.

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