Question: Which restoration measures (reintroduction techniques, reintroduction timing and fertilization) best enable the establishment of fen species on North American cut-away peatlands?
Location: Rivière-du-Loup peatland, southern Québec, Canada.
Methods: In total, eight treatments which tested a combination of two reintroduction techniques, two reintroduction timings and the use of phosphorus fertilization were tested in a field experiment within a completely randomized block design.
Results: Sphagnum transfer, a reintroduction technique commonly used for bog restoration in North America, was effective for establishing Sphagnum and Carex species. The hay transfer method, commonly used for fen restoration in Europe, was much less successful, probably due to questionable viability of reintroduced seeds. The treatments which included light phosphorus fertilization, had a higher Carex cover after three growing seasons. The timing of the reintroductions had no impact on the success of vegetation establishment. However, vegetation reintroduction should be carried out in the spring while the ground is still frozen to minimize other ecological impacts.
Conclusions: The success of the diaspore reintroduction technique on small-scale units indicates that a large-scale restoration of fens using this technique is feasible.