New publication: The long‑term effect of initial restoration intervention, landscape composition, and time on the progress of Pannonic sand grassland restoration


To help upscale ecological restoration of degraded lands, landscape factors and longer time scales should be considered when assessing restoration efforts. We evaluated the impact of initial restoration intervention, landscape composition, and elapsed time since the restoration began on the long-term progress of Pannonic sand grassland restoration. Treatments (seeding, mowing, and carbon amendment) were implemented for 6-7 years and monitoring lasted up to 23 years after the first treatment applications in eight experimental blocks belonging to three field experiments. The abundance of target/neophyte species, and distance from primary grasslands and plantations (as major source of target/neophyte species) were estimated in 500 m landscape buffers around each block to characterize landscape composition. Restoration progress was calculated as the difference between the relative cover of target/neophyte species in treatment and control plots. Restoration intervention and neophyte abundance in the landscape had a significant effect on the restoration progress, but time did not. Seeding had the highest positive effect on target species and also prevented invasion by neophyte species. Higher abundance of neophytes in the landscape and the proximity to plantations increased the cover of neophytes in treatment plots. We conclude that restoration interventions may have a greater impact on restoration progress in the longer term than landscape factors or elapsed time. Seeding proved to be the best method in restoring sand grasslands by both favoring target species and controlling invasion. From the landscape factors, the abundance of neophyte species and distance to plantations should be considered when prioritizing areas and efforts for restoration.

Published by Bruna Paolinelli Reis, Katalin Szitár, Anna Kövendi-Jakó, Katalin Török, Nóra Sáradi, Edina Csákvári and Melinda Halassy in journal Landscape and Ecological Engineering