Rapid revegetation by sowing seed mixtures of shrub and herbaceous species
Abstract. Fast revegetation by means of sowing seed mixtures of shrub and herbaceous species is a measure to prevent bare soils from wind and water erosion. A field experiment was used to test the effect of species selection and the ratio of shrub to herbaceous species on vegetation formation and shrub growth. Results showed that herbaceous species hastened cover formation and maintained a high coverage for a longer period. However, the growth of shrubs was hindered. In the North China Plain or where the soil and climate are similar, the ratio of shrub to herbaceous seeds is proposed to be 6 : 4–7 : 3 (weight ratio). Among the herbaceous species tested, Festuca arundinacea Schreb. grows relatively slow, so it should be mixed with other fast-growing species in the practice of rapid revegetation, and a seeding density lower than 6 g m−2 is proposed when applied; Orychophragmus violaceus O. E. Schulz. wilts when the seeds are ripe, leading to a significant decrease of coverage, so other species with different phenology should be involved when it is applied; Viola philippica Car. is a good ground cover plant which grows fast and maintains a stable coverage from July to October, and a seeding density of 1.5 g m−2 is proposed for rapid revegetation. Herbaceous species have different traits. Three different types of herbs were found in our experiment: slow-growing stable species (F. arundinacea), fast-growing unstable species (O. violaceus) and fast-growing stable species (V. philippica). Shrubs, slow-growing stable species and fast-growing unstable species should not be used alone because they cannot cover the ground fast or they cannot maintain a long period of good coverage. A small seeding rate of fast-growing stable species should be used to ensure a fair coverage against erosion. Because natural environmental conditions are heterogeneous and stochastic, more species should be added to enhance the stability of plant community.