The long-term effect of restoration interventions and the impact of landscape context on the restoration of Pannonic sand grasslands

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Halassy Melinda, Bruna Paolinelli Reis, Katalin Török

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To help upscale ecological restoration of degraded lands longer time scales and the impact of the surrounding landscape should be considered when assessing restoration efforts. We evaluated the impact of three different major restoration interventions, mowing, carbon amendment and seeding on sand grassland restoration in the long-term, up to 23 years after the first application. We also assessed the impact of the surrounding landscape in terms of species pool and distance from main propagule sources of target and invasive species. The design included eight experimental blocks belonging to three experiments with at least one treatment type, different landscape context and time scale of monitoring in the Kiskunság Biosphere Reserve, Hungary, Europe. We evaluated long-term restoration trajectories with the help of multivariate analysis (PCoA and PRC) and direct comparison to reference based on the relative cover of target and neophyte species for each experiment separately. We used linear mixed effects models to evaluate the role of treatments and time for each experiment separately, plus landscape factors for all experiments together. Seeding was the best method in restoring sand grasslands favoring target species and controlling invasion. Mowing facilitated the establishment of both target and neophyte species. Carbon amendment had some minor positive impact on target species, but was neutral to neophytes. A larger species pool of neophytes and proximity to plantations increased the cover of neophytes in restored plots, therefore should be considered when prioritizing areas and efforts for restoration. Our result support that long-term monitoring is crucial in evaluating ecological restoration.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program