, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 879–893 | Cite as

Effects of the Substrate and Planting Method on Sphagnum palustre Growth in Subtropical High-Mountain Regions and the Underlying Mechanisms

  • Ting-Ting Li
  • Tao Liu
  • Yun LeiEmail author
  • Zhong-Qiang Li
  • Can Dai
  • Zheng-Xiang WangEmail author
Wetlands Restoration


Sphagnum wetlands in subtropical high-mountain regions have been severely destroyed by human activities, necessitating restoration efforts. We studied the effects of substrate and planting method on Sphagnum palustre L. growth and the underlying mechanisms to determine the optimal conditions for S. palustre restoration. S. palustre collected from natural wetlands was grown on nine substrates and with four planting methods in a greenhouse. The results show that S. palustre grew best in mountain yellow-brown soil without added peat or river sand and when planted as intact plants. Substrate pH and P content and capitula P content negatively correlated with S. palustre productivity, while initial biomass of S. palustre at planting positively correlated with productivity. S. palustre restoration on local mountain soil in subtropical high-mountain regions is practical, which may provide a new perspective for restoring peatlands. Traditional restoration method using the 10 cm upper parts of S. palustre as transplanted materials does not destroy the source S. palustre populations in habitats where plants are collected. However, we argue that a planting method using only capitula (top 1–2 cm) may be a better choice for S. palustre restoration, due to the similar productivity but less impact to source S. palustre populations.


Sphagnum palustre Wetland restoration Nitrogen Phosphorus pH Substrate 



We thank Kai Tian, Binmei Xiong, Ze Li, Qianqian Peng, Yu Chen, and Shichao Li for their help with growth indicator measurements and Lan fang Yang, Qichi Yang, Yuyang Xu, and Bangjun Lin for their help with physical and chemical property measurements of plants and substrates. This experiment complies with all laws of the People’s Republic of China, where it was performed.


This study was funded by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41471041); the Technology Innovation Planning Project of Hubei Province, China (2017ABA161); and the Open Foundation of the Hubei Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental Response, China (2017(A) 001).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Statement of Human and Animal Rights

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.

Supplementary material

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© Society of Wetland Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Hubei Collaborative Innovation Center for Green Transformation of Bio-ResourcesHubei UniversityWuhanChina
  2. 2.Faculty of Resources and Environmental SciencesHubei UniversityWuhanChina
  3. 3.Hubei Key Laboratory of Regional Development and Environmental ResponseWuhanChina
  4. 4.School of Life SciencesCentral China Normal UniversityWuhanChina

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