Assessing the success of various restoration treatments in terms of vegetation recovery and cost effectiveness

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Landi Retief, Mlungele, M. Nsikani, Sjirk Geerts

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The successful restoration of critically endangered habitat types at a low cost is of vital importance as we enter the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration. Here we test how successful and cost effective six combinations of restoration treatments were over a period of two years in the Cape Floristic Region of South Africa. Treatments used were: Burn, Burn-sow, Burn-sow-plant, Remove-grass-sow-plant, Soil plant and Soil-mulch-sow-plant. The combination of fire, seed and planting lead to plant diversity most similar to the control plots. The treatment that involved the use of topsoil transfer in combination with planting was the second most successful restoration treatment. Treatments that involved the manual removal of alien graminoids proved to be the least successful. Sowing contributed minimally to restoration where it was used with fire alone but was more successful when used with planting or the application of mulch. The manual removal of alien graminoids proved to be the most expensive treatment, whilst the treatment that only involved a controlled burn was the cheapest. We conclude that the combination of fire, seed and planting was the most successful treatment at a reasonable cost, while the transfer of topsoil from an intact site combined with planting was also successful in transferring an otherwise lost habitat.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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