Question: Do soil treatments and addition of seed facilitate rapid vegetation restoration on forest paths excluded from trampling?
Location: Six mesophilic mixed deciduous Querco-Fagetea forests in Flanders, northern Belgium.
Methods: Enclosures on paths were excluded from trampling by fencing. In a full factorial design, plots were subjected to seeding, soil scarification, addition of organic material and inoculum. The following two years, seedling establishment and growth were sampled during spring and summer. Soil treatments and seeding effect was tested and seedling occurrence was analysed in relation to species' origin.
Results: Spontaneous revegetation was significant in all plots since fencing. Throughout the observation period seedling cover and height continued to increase. Seeding had an overall effect on seedling density, cover and height. Some soil treatment interactions significantly enhance revegetation, although each individual soil treatment had no significant effect. Regardless of the seeded individuals, invading species mostly originated from the surrounding area and the seed bank.
Conclusion: The preliminary results of this experiment imply that seeding is the only treatment which has a positive effect on revegetation success in all circumstances, provided that the exclusion from trampling is effective.
Nomenclature: Lambinon et al. (1998).