Management effects on plant species composition and ecosystem processes and services in a nutrient-poor wet grassland

  • Keith R. EdwardsEmail author
  • Tomaš Kučera


The effect of changing management practices, from a more intensive to a less intensive cutting regime with partial abandonment, on plant species composition, frequency, and abundance was determined for an oligotrophic wet grassland in the south Bohemia region of the Czech Republic using data from vegetation surveys conducted in 1965 (2–3 cuts per year) and 2013 (parts cut once per year, other portions abandoned). These data, coupled with nutrient data from a nearby wet grassland with similar species composition as well as data from the literature, were used to predict the possible effect of these vegetation changes on ecosystem processes and services. The former, more diverse Molinia caerulea-dominated state has been replaced by a less-diverse grassland dominated by clonal hemicryptophytes, such as Carex acuta. Partial restoration has been accomplished where mowing has been resumed. Using Ellenberg indicator values for moisture and nutrients, the present species composition indicates that the area has become wetter over time, likely due to management decisions made at the regional scale. Carbon and nutrient sequestration has likely been enhanced in the current state, while services linked to greater species diversity have likely suffered. Such tradeoffs in ecosystem services must be considered when deciding whether to restore the more diverse Molinia caerulea-dominated state. Decisions at the regional scale will also influence the ability of achieving a desired structure.


Plant species diversity Carex acuta Molinia caerulea Ellenberg indicator values Ecosystem services 



This paper is dedicated to the memories of Dagmar Dykyjová and Stěpan Husak, both of whom did so much to further our knowledge and appreciation of wetlands. We thank Ville Närhi for his great help as well as members of the Třeboň Basin Biosphere Reserve. Nutrient analyses were conducted by Daniel Vaňek. The study was supported by Grants from the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (GACR: 526/09/1545) and the Grant Agency of the University of South Bohemia (GAJU: 143/2010/P).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11258_2019_970_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (165 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 164 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Ecosystem Biology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of South Bohemia in České BudějoviceCeske BudejoviceCzech Republic

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