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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2017

Methods of establishing species-rich meadow biotopes in urban areas

Martensson, Linda-Maria


The biodiversity of meadow vegetation can be preserved in several ways, ranging from the conservation of historical traditionally managed meadows to the establishment of new meadow biotopes managed with modern machinery. Municipal plans often state that the value of natural habitats and the quality or functionality of green infrastructure should be improved. This requires scientific knowledge on the creation of new habitats with distinctive ecosystem services in the urban and peri-urban landscape. This paper presents a re-analysis of the results of research on methods of establishing species-rich grassland vegetation in the urban setting carried out in Sweden during the 1980s. It was found that hay or straw, used as mulch to protect meadow plant seeds, improved the success of establishment (higher number of individuals per m(2)) compared to establishment on bare soil. The use of rye (Secale cereale L.) as a nursery plant also improved the establishment compared to bare soil, whereas using ryegrass (Lolium perenne L.) as a nursery plant had no effect on the establishment of meadow species. The stripping method used to break up an existing sward did not affect the success of sown meadow plant species establishment, whereas broader strips improved the longer-term establishment (four years after sowing). The gapping method used to open up a closed grass sward was, however, important; sward removal resulted in successful establishment of meadow plant species, while burning did not. Gap size was found to be important for the establishment success rate of sown meadow plant species in the longer term (three years after sowing). Generally, the number of individuals per m(2) was higher in the first year than the second year after sowing and Leucanthemum vulgare and Rumex acetosa showed the highest number of individuals per m2 among the species included in the experiments. Planting plug plants directly in a closed grass lawn sward was found to be very successful, and the rate of survival was high. Further research is required on methods of establishing meadow plant species or meadow biotopes in an urban context, including the investigation of conflicting views on land use and residents' needs in urban and peri-urban areas. The ways in which constructed meadow biotopes contribute to the fulfilment of environmental goals and provide ecological functions and ecosystem service should also be assessed. (C) 2017 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.


Constructed meadows; Constructed grasslands; Urban diversity; Urban planning; Urban vegetation design

Published in

Ecological Engineering
2017, Volume: 103, pages: 134-140

    SLU Authors

    Sustainable Development Goals

    SDG15 Life on land
    SDG11 Sustainable cities and communities

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Environmental Sciences
    Other Biological Topics

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