Vegetation restoration was attempted in four plots of a degraded wet heath overgrown by Molinia caerulea in High Ardenne (Belgium). Two treatments, mowing for two years and removal of the top 3–28 cm of peat, were applied in spring 1989. The vegetation was recorded in 1989 and 1998 using the Braun-Blanquet method. After nine years, the mowing treatment had relatively little effect on vegetation composition. We observed a 0–25 % decrease of Molinia cover and an increase of some heath species like Calluna vulgaris (12–47 %) and Erica tetralix (0–12 %). However, top peat removal had a pronounced and beneficial effect. A decrease of a mean of 66 % in cover of Molinia caerulea was observed as well as an increase of the cover of Erica tetralix (0–12 %). Peat removal also promoted the re-establishment of some typical wet heath species like Juncus squarrosus and Carex panicea, as well as of some rare pioneer species like Drosera rotundifolia and Lycopodiella inundata. This treatment appears to be favorable for the regeneration of degraded wet heaths in High Ardenne.
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Vol. 23 • No. 2