Do Restored Calcareous Grasslands on Former Arable Fields Resemble Ancient Targets? The Effect of Time, Methods and Environment on Outcomes

Fagan, K.C., R.F. Pywell, J.M. Bullock and R.H. Marrs

Publication Date:

A great deal of money is being invested in calcareous grassland restoration on arable land within agri-environment schemes in the European Union. There is, however, little evidence that the target ecosystem can be obtained from the restoration techniques and management practices currently used. We evaluated these techniques using a multi-site approach in order to improve the success of future restoration efforts. We recommend selecting restoration sites with low phosphorous concentrations that adjoin patches of ancient calcareous grassland. Seed mixes should be devised carefully to prevent the assembly of low-value, competitive, stable communities dominated by grasses; natural regeneration may avoid this, but will only be effective close to sources of propagules. Other methods of restoration or habitat management would undoubtedly benefit from similar multi-site evaluation.

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Journal of Applied Ecology