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Contrasting success in the restoration of plant and phytophagous beetle assemblages of species-rich mesotrophic grasslands

By B. A. Woodcock, A .R. Edwards, C .S. Lawson, D. B. Westbury, A .J. Brook, S .J. Harris, V .K. Brown and S. R. Mortimer

Abstract

Over the last 60 years changes to the management\ud of species-rich mesotrophic grasslands have resulted\ud in the large-scale loss and degradation of this habitat across\ud Europe. Restoration of such grasslands on agriculturally\ud improved pastures provides a potentially valuable approach\ud to the conservation of these threatened areas. Over a fouryear\ud period a replicated block design was used to test the\ud effects of seed addition (green hay spreading and brush\ud harvest collection) and soil disturbance on the restoration\ud of phytophagous beetle and plant communities. Patterns of\ud increasing restoration success, particularly where hay\ud spreading and soil disturbance were used in combination,\ud were identified for the phytophagous beetles. In the case of\ud the plants, however, initial differences in restoration success\ud in response to these same treatments were not\ud followed by subsequent temporal changes in plant community\ud similarity to target mesotrophic grassland. It is\ud possible that the long-term consequences of the management\ud treatments would not be the establishment of beetle\ud and plant communities characteristic of the targets for\ud restoration. Restoration management to enhance plant\ud establishment using hay spreading and soil disturbance\ud techniques would, however, still increase community\ud similarity in both taxa to that of species-rich mesotrophic\ud grasslands, and so raise their conservation value.\ud Keywords Cynosurus–Centaurea Coleoptera \ud Grassland restoration Hay meadow Resistance \ud Successional trajectorie

Topics: Ecology and Environment
Year: 2008
DOI identifier: 10.1007/s00442-007-0872-2
OAI identifier: oai:nora.nerc.ac.uk:6363
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