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Jungerius, P.D., Koehler, H., Kooijman, A.M., Mücher, H.J., Graefe, U.: Response of vegetation and soil ecosystem to mowing and sod removal in the coastal dunes âZwanenwaterâ, the Netherlands. Journal of Coastal Conservation, 1: 3-16, 1995.


Abstract. This paper investigates the effects of mowing and sod removal on vegetation, soil mesofauna and soil profile, and the restoration of these features in the years following sod removal. The sampling site is located in a primary wet dune slack in the northern part of the province of North-Holland. The original vegetation is a heathland with Empetrum nigrum and Calluna vulgaris, underlain by a Gleyic Arenosol with an O, Ah and (B) horizon development. Above-ground, the vegetation in the dune slack has been mown since 1940. The sod was removed from restricted areas in the slack at various times in the past (1980, 1985, 1987 and 1991). All three sources of data point to adaptation to wet conditions after mowing and sod removal. The vegetation of the mown area is related to the vegetation in the original heathland, although some species appear to have disappeared. Below- ground, mowing drastically reduces the number and depth of occurrence of microarthropoda. Restriction of depth applies also to the Enchytraeidae. Soil profile development is restricted to an Ah-AC-Cr sequence. Species diversity both above and below-ground is relatively high in plots where the sod has recently been cut, due to the rapid colonization by the first pioneer species. A time series for the vegetation is difficult to establish because hydrological conditions interfere with years since sod removal. Soil profile evolution after sod cutting is poor but consistent, from an AC-Cr sequence since 1991, to an O-Ah-Cr sequence since 1980. The management practices were set up with the intention to interrupt the succession to give pioneer species a chance. Neither the vegetation, nor the soil fauna or soil profile have fully recovered during the 13 yr since the first sod removal. So the goal has been reached.

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