Brush harvesting, hay transfer, and other ‘near-natural’ direct harvesting techniques are effective and well-established means of overcoming seed limitation in grassland restoration. The species composition and viability of seed captured by these techniques significantly influences restoration success, varying according to grassland type, local environmental conditions, and harvesting methodology, but is not always fully understood or accounted for in restoration projects. In this study, carried out at RBG Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank (MSB), we compare the species composition and viability of seed harvested using brush and combine harvesting techniques in mesotrophic grassland, and brush and green hay transfer techniques in calcareous grassland. The effectiveness of each technique in capturing the species-diversity of the donor community is assessed, including interactions between harvesting technique and key plant traits including dispersal time and height. Costs and practical considerations associated with each technique will be discussed alongside new MSB protocols for species composition analysis and viability testing of large mixed-species harvests.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program
Society for Ecological Restoration