A new approach for tracking vegetation change after restoration: a case study with peatlands

  • Published source details Poulin M., Andersen R. & Rochefort L. (2013) A new approach for tracking vegetation change after restoration: a case study with peatlands. Restoration Ecology, 21, 363-371.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create peatland vegetation using the moss layer transfer technique

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Restore/create peatland vegetation using the moss layer transfer technique

    A controlled, before-and-after study in 1998–2007 in a historically mined bog in Quebec, Canada (Poulin et al. 2013) reported that an area restored using the moss layer transfer technique developed a more peatland-characteristic plant community than an unrestored area, with higher richness and diversity of characteristic plants (and higher overall plant species richness). These results were not tested for statistical significance. Before intervention, both areas contained a similar community of weedy, shrubby and forest plants. Over eight years, the restored area developed a community of peatland-characteristic plants but the unrestored area did not. Red bog moss Sphagnum rubellum became particularly abundant in the restored area (data reported as graphical analyses). After eight years, the restored area contained more plant species than the unrestored area (21 vs 17), more peatland-characteristic plant species (11 vs 3; before intervention: 1) and more wetland-characteristic plant species (2 vs 0; before intervention: 0). The restored area also had higher diversity of the characteristic species than the unrestored area, but lower total plant diversity (data reported as diversity indices). In 1999, 8.4 ha of historically mined bog were restored by levelling, rewetting (building embankments and blocking drainage ditches), adding Sphagnum-dominated vegetation fragments and mulching with straw. Fertilizer was added the following summer. In the same peatland, 3.1 ha were not restored. In 1998 and 2001–2007, cover of every plant species was measured using rods dropped at over 7,000 points along transects. This study was based on the same experimental set-up as (1) and (4).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust