Comparing monitoring methodologies for assessing restoration success in peatlands

Line Rochefort, Francis Isselin-Nondedeu and Monique Poulin

After Wise Use – The Future of Peatlands, Proceedings of the 13th International Peat Congress: Peatland After-Use

monitoring-of-success, peatland, permanent-plot, pin-point-method, restoration

Rochefort et al. 2008:Comparing monitoring methodologies for assessing


Restoration specialists are often criticised for not establishing a proper monitoring program that would help judging the success of a restoration project. Here, we present a study case where monitoring has taken place for seven years after restoring a cut-over bog. The aim of this presentation is 1) to assess peatland restoration success when using the Sphagnum moss transfer restoration approach and 2) to compare different monitoring methods for assessing restoration success.
The site is a cut-over bog of 11.4 ha, of which 8.5 ha were restored in 1999. The restoration approach consisted mainly in reintroducing bog-plant diaspores, spreading a straw mulching, blocking the former drainage ditches, and applying a low dose of phosphorus fertiliser. A pre-restored (1999) vegetation point survey and three post-restored (2001, 2003 and 2005) surveys were conducted using a systematic grid of ap- proximately 6900 points (every 3 m × 5 m). In addition to this line-point interception survey, permanent quadrats were established and surveyed every year since 1999. The recovery of vegetation was assessed with a reference ecosystem. In brief, Sphagnum had a frequency of occurrence of 55% from the line-point intercep- tion survey, which is close to what is found in the nearby reference system. The cover of the nursing moss Polytrichum strictum was twice as abundant in the restored site than in the reference ecosystem in 2003 but figures for 2005 show that it is decreasing slowly. The cover of the herb strata was also higher than in natural reference peatlands but we expect a decrease in the cover of the main herb species, Eriophorum vaginatum (cotton-grass) with time. Overall, the Sphagnum moss transfer restoration approach appears an efficient catalyst for restoring a moss carpet on cut-over bogs. Discrepancies between the two survey techniques are discussed for vegetation strata and particular species.