Spontaneous succession in lack of restoration focused case studies is often underappreciated in restoration. We studied the regeneration of alkali and loess grasslands in extensively managed (mown twice a year) alfalfa fields using space for time substitutions. In our study we addressed the following questions: (i) How fast is the disappearance of the perennial alfalfa following abandonment of intensive management from vegetation? (ii) Is the course of vegetation development in extensively managed alfalfa fields different than in abandoned crop fields formerly cultivated with short lived crops? (iii) How fast is the regeneration of native grasslands in extensively managed alfalfa fields? We found that alfalfa gradually disappeared from vegetation, and its cover was low in 10-years-old alfalfa fields. We also detected a continuous replacement of alfalfa by perennial native grasses and forbs. No weed dominated stages were detected during the spontaneous grassland recovery in alfalfa fields. Our results suggest that the recovery of species poor grasslands is possible within 10 years. The partial recovery of loess and alkali grasslands not require technical restoration methods in alfalfa fields where nearby native grasslands are present.
|Translated title of the contribution||Spontaneous Grassland Regeneration in Extensively Managed Alfalfa Fields|
|Number of pages||12|
|Journal||Journal of Landscape Ecology|
|Publication status||Published - Oct 22 2010|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation