Studies in the ecology of Wicken Fen: IV. Crop-taking experiments


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use cutting/mowing to control problematic herbaceous plants

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Use cutting/mowing to control problematic herbaceous plants

    A controlled study in 1927–1940 in a fen meadow in England, UK (Godwin 1941) reported that repeated cutting changed the composition of the plant community. These results were not tested for statistical significance. After 12 years, a plot cut every year had a plant community dominated by purple moor grass Molinia caerulea with abundant carnation sedge Carex panicea (data reported as abundance categories). Sawtooth sedge Cladium mariscus biomass decreased over time (from 490 g/m2 after one cut to 50 g/m2 after 12 cuts). In an uncut plot, sawtooth sedge remained the most abundant plant species (data reported as abundance categories). Additional plots cut every two, three or four years developed plant communities intermediate between the annually cut and uncut plots. In 1927, five 20 x 20 m plots were established in a fen meadow dominated by sawtooth sedge. Four plots were scythed in October: one every year, one every two years, one every three years and one every four years. Cuttings were removed. The other plot was left uncut. Vegetation cover was visually estimated in 1940. Above-ground vegetation biomass was estimated every year, by drying and weighing cuttings from 1 m2 of each plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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