Plant community composition and attributes reveal conservation implications for newly created grassland on capped landfill sites

Md Lutfor Rahman, Sam Tarrant, Duncan McCollin, Jeff Ollerton

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticle

Abstract

Biodiversity conservation through restoring degraded habitats or creating new habitats is advocated in the UK Biodiversity Action Plan. Restored grasslands on capped landfill sites are semi-natural habitats that could potentially support a wide range of plant communities. However, it is unknown whether these re-created habitats represent a significant resource in terms of biodiversity conservation. The UK National Vegetation Classification (NVC) was used to study these communities on nine restored capped landfill sites together with paired reference sites in the East Midlands region of the UK during 2007. Plant species data were collected by random quadrats along two 100 m transects from each site. The effects of restoration were investigated by examining plant attributes and Ellenberg indicators on restored landfill sites in comparison to paired reference sites. A total of 170 plant species were found from both sets of sites. There were no significant differences for most of the plant attributes between restored landfill sites and reference sites, though reference sites had significantly higher mean frequencies of native plants, nationally decreasing species and perennial species. In total 26 broad NVC community types were identified of which more than 70% fell within mesotrophic grassland (MG). The diversity of NVC communities confirms that underlying environmental factors such as soil fertility are important, dictating the type of plant communities that exist. It is recommended that management of these capped landfill sites should be targeted towards specific NVC community types to meet conservation targets
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)198-205
Number of pages8
JournalJournal for Nature Conservation
Volume21
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Aug 2013

Keywords

  • Vegetation
  • NVC
  • restoration
  • grassland
  • landfill sites

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