A change in the vegetation of UK moorland from Calluna vulgaris-dominated heath to Molinia caerulea- or Nardus stricta-dominated grassland is frequently deemed undesirable on economic and biodiversity grounds. Moorland vegetation restoration is an increasingly practiced management option. However there has been little research on the effectiveness of such management for aiding the restoration of other aspects of moorland biodiversity such as associated insect populations. We sampled Hemiptera and Lepidoptera assemblages from restored, degraded and C. vulgaris-dominated (target) moorland at eight restoration sites in England and Scotland. Vegetation assemblages and additional environmental variables were sampled at the same locations. Vegetation restoration aided the reassembly of moorland insects to a variable extent. Hemiptera restoration success was greatest at mechanically restored sites dominated by C. vulgaris. In addition to treatment, latitude best explained variation in the Hemiptera assemblage. A range of plant species, all either dwarf shrubs or graminoids, acted as further determinants. Lepidoptera restoration success was correlated most closely with the success of restoring the full diversity of the vegetation assemblage and was highest at sites restored by grazing control. The results demonstrate that vegetation restoration brings wider biodiversity benefits and that the form these take may depend on the restoration method used and consequent characteristics of the resultant vegetation assemblage.
- Calluna vulgaris
- Canonical correspondence analysis
- Upland heathland