Restoring grassland biodiversity: sowing low-diversity seed mixtures can lead to rapid favourable changes

  • Published source details Török P., Deák B., Vida E., Valkó O., Lengyel S. & Tóthmérész B. (2010) Restoring grassland biodiversity: sowing low-diversity seed mixtures can lead to rapid favourable changes. Biological Conservation, 143, 806-812.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Mow before or after seeding/planting

Action Link
Grassland Conservation

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Mow before or after seeding/planting

    A replicated, site comparison study in 2006–2008 in 10 former arable fields and six natural grasslands in Hungary (Török et al. 2010) found that annual mowing after sowing grassland species increased plant community similarity to that of natural grassland. No statistical analyses were carried out in this study. After three years, the plant communities in areas that were sown with seeds and subsequently mowed were more similar to those of natural grasslands than after one year (data presented as graphical analysis). In 2006, ten fields were ploughed. Six fields were sown with seeds of Festuca rupicola, Poa angustifolia, and Bromus inermis and four fields were sown with seeds of P. angustifolia and Festuca pseudovina at a rate of 25 kg/ha. The fields were mowed in June 2007 and 2008. In each field, and six nearby intact loess and alkali grasslands four 1-m2 plots were used to measure cover of plant species in June 2006–2008.

    (Summarised by: Philip Martin)

  2. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A replicated trial from 2005 to 2008 in the Hortobágy National Park, eastern Hungary (Török et al. 2010) found that perennial meadow grass species sown on ex-arable fields established well after two years of management as hay meadows, but created a dense cover that may prevent more specialist meadow species from establishing. In the first year, weedy annual herbs and grasses dominated (63-82% of vegetation). By the second year, sown grasses had increased, accounting for 16 to 86% of the plant cover. Ten fields were sown with two or three grass species in October 2005, at 25 kg/ha (Festuca rupicola, narrow-leaved meadow-grass Poa angustifolia and smooth brome Bromus inermis on six fields, and Festuca pseudovina and narrow-leaved meadow grass on four fields). The fields covered 93 ha in total. They were mown in late June 2007 and 2008 and hay removed. Plants were surveyed in four permanent plots in each field, from 2006 to 2008.


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