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No. 30: Monitoring the vegetation recovery in Østerild Plantage 2013. Part 1

Wind, P. 2013. Monitoring the vegetation recovery in Østerild Plantage 2013. Part 1. Aarhus University, DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy, 40 pp. Technical Report from DCE – Danish Centre for Environment and Energy No. 30 dce2.au.dk/pub/TR30.pdf 

Summary

The overall objective of the monitoring programme in Østerild is to document the outcome of the restoration project targeting open dune habitats following clear-cutting of parts of the dune plantations in the National Test Center facility. The first phase of the monitoring programme performed in July 2011 has included a recording of plant species composition and soil conditions prior to the clearing of the dune plantations (the baseline monitoring).

Sample areas and plots for the baseline monitoring were laid out in 2011 in a stratified random way in order to cover the variation in starting points of the vegetation development and the restoration measures. Stratification was applied according to baseline condition (forest type), planned post-cutting treatments of litter layer and hydrology, the expected management regimes, the distance to appropriate seed sources, and topography.

During the first 10 years after the clear-cutting a systematic recording of the vegetation development in the succession towards open dune habitats (post-construction monitoring) has been planned. The results of the monitoring programme will as far as possible contribute to the recommendations for future restoration projects, which aim to convert plantations into open habitats.

Thus, in 2013 the second monitoring phase was initiated. The report presents the results of the second phase which was performed by re-monitoring the vegetation cover in the dune area formerly dominated by Pinus mugo. The 2011 monitoring methodology was repeated (Nygaard et al. 2011). The method is based on the variables in the Danish NOVANA programme for terrestrial habitats (Fredshavn et al. 2011). The plant species composition and vegetation structure were recorded in a pin point frame (0.5 * 0.5 m). Additional species were recorded in a documentation circle with a radius of 5 m for each of the twenty sample areas.

In the twenty sample areas monitored in 2013 61 taxa of vascular plant species, bryophytes and lichens were recorded ranging between six and 24 taxa. The most frequent species was Deschampsia flexuosa recorded in all twenty sample areas. Other abundant species recorded were Carex arenaria, Pleurozium schreberi, Hypnum jutlandicum and Empetrum nigrum. One species, Rumex acetosella, only recorded as an additional species in one sample area in 2011, was recorded in nine sample areas in 2013. The rest of the 61 taxa were recorded once or twice either in the pin point frame or as additional species in the documentary circle, only.

The disturbance of the soil layer caused by cutting of trees and removing the trunks and stumps may lead to release of nutrient that can favour problematic vascular plant species that prefer a higher nutrient level in the soil than originally present in the P. mugo plantation or to a flourishing of invasive species. In 2013 no problematic species were recorded in the sample areas except for a few scattered plants of Epilobium angustifolium.