Fens are among the most threatened habitats in Europe as their area has decreased considerably in the last centuries. For successful management and restoration conservationists need detailed knowledge about seed bank formation and seed longevity of plants, as these features are closely related to successional and vegetation dynamical processes. I analysed seed longevity and the germination characteristics of six fen plant species by seed burial experiments. Based on seed weight, seed bank was expected for long-term persistent for the light-seeded Schoenus nigricans, Carex appropinquata, C. pseudocyperus, C. davalliana and Peucedanum palustre and also that for the medium-seeded Cicuta virosa. It was proved that, the latter two species have short-term persistent seed banks, while Carex pseudocyperus has a transient seed bank, therefore these species may only have a limited role in restoration from seed banks. It was found that Schoenus nigricans, Carex appropinquata and C. davalliana have persistent seed banks, because some of their four-year-old seeds have emerged. Fresh seeds had low germination rate in all studied species and majority of seeds emerged after winter, except for Carex pseudocyperus. After the germination peak in spring, the majority of the ungerminated seeds of Schoenus nigricans, Peucedanum palustre, Carex appropinquata, C. davalliana and Cicuta virosa entered a secondary dormancy phase that was broken in autumn. I found the seasonal emergence of the latter three species highly similar.
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Valkó, O., Török, P., Tóthmérész, B., Matus, G. (2010) Restoration potential in seed banks of acidic fen and dry-mesophilous meadows: Can restoration be based on local seed banks? Rest. Ecol. (in press), DOI: 10.1111/j.1526-100X.2010.00679.x.