Comparison of Methods for Restoring Meadows Invaded by Solidago Species
Sebastian Świerszcz1, Magdalena Szymura1, Karol Wolski1, Tomasz H. Szymura2
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1Department of Agroecosystems and Green Areas Management, Wrocław University of Environmental
and Life Sciences, Wrocław, Poland
2Department of Ecology, Biogeochemistry and Environmental Protection,
University of Wrocław, Wrocław, Poland
Online publish date: 2017-05-26
Publish date: 2017-05-26
Submission date: 2016-09-29
Final revision date: 2016-11-22
Acceptance date: 2016-11-23
Pol. J. Environ. Stud. 2017;26(3):1251–1258
Semi-natural meadows are valuable for maintaining biodiversity and providing a range of ecosystem services. The majority of these communities are protected by the European Natura 2000 system. However, grasslands are threatened by invasions by alien species, particularly Solidago spp. The invaders should be eradicated because of their negative impact on biodiversity, the environment, and the economy. A field experiment was conducted to compare the effect of different treatments (scalping, rototilling, and use of herbicide) on restoration of a meadow seriously invaded by Solidago spp. Fresh hay was transferred to the experimental plots to provide target meadow species seeds. Significant differences in species composition and coverage were detected between the herbicide-treated and plots that received other treatments and between the use of a rototiller and the control. Applying the herbicide glyphosate quickly reduced the cover of Solidago spp. (0.5±0.4%) and increased target species cover (84.8±13.6%). The Solidago spp. cover rates were 79.5±17.1% and 65±31.4% when scalping and rototilling were used, respectively, whereas the target species cover rates were 25.8±16% and 30±15.8%, respectively. The sward that grew after applying glyphosate had the highest forage value and resistance to cutting. These results show that short-term eradication of invasive Solidago spp. and restoration of a meadow are possible using glyphosate. However, use of a herbicide may have a negative impact on the environment and native species.