The effect of a complex land use history on the restoration possibilities of heathland in central Belgium

Citation
B. Bossuyt et al., The effect of a complex land use history on the restoration possibilities of heathland in central Belgium, BELG J BOT, 134(1), 2001, pp. 29-40
Citations number
43
Language
INGLESE
art.tipo
Article
Categorie Soggetti
Plant Sciences
Journal title
BELGIAN JOURNAL OF BOTANY
ISSN journal
0778-4031 → ACNP
Volume
134
Issue
1
Year of publication
2001
Pages
29 - 40
Database
ISI
SICI code
0778-4031(2001)134:1<29:TEOACL>2.0.ZU;2-1
Abstract
In Belgium as in the rest of north-western Europe, the restoration of heath lands has become a major nature conservation priority. The target species f or this restoration process may be present in the relict seed bank, which c an be used to restore the ecological diversity of heathlands successfully. This study focuses on the consequences of a highly dynamic and complex hist orical land use pattern on the composition and heathland restoration potent ial of the soil seed bank of a sand stone hill in central Belgium. The pres ence of typical heathland species was negatively correlated with historical orchard land use. Former land use as orchard imposed both biotic (low seed densities of target species) and abiotic (high soil phosphate level) const raints in the restoration of heathland. Time since abandonment of the heath land and conifer land use negatively affected the presence of heathland spe cies due to seed senescence in the heathland species seed bank. Especially more than 50 years after the reference land use, the number of heathland sp ecies has become very small acid restoration is hardly possible. On parcels that had no historical orchard land use and having a current land use as o ak-birch forest, the chance of successful restoration of heathland is great est. Densities of heathland species in the seed bank of these parcels are r elatively high and the densities of non-target, potentially competing, spec ies are relatively low.