Action: Restore wood pastures (e.g. introducing grazing)
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- One replicated paired study in Sweden found that partial harvesting in abandoned wood pastures increased tree seedling density, survival and growth.
Wood pastures are semi-open pasture woodlands. Generally, they are maintained by grazing. However, when wood pastures are no longer maintained, other interventions (such as partial harvesting) may be necessary to restore their open character.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A replicated, paired sites, study in 2002–2005 in 25 abandoned wood pastures in southern Sweden (1) found that abandoned oak Quercus spp. wood pastures, subject to partial harvesting had higher oak seedling density, survival and growth than unharvested abandoned wood pastures. Oak seedling density (harvested: 11,600; unharvested: 3,900 seedlings/ha), survival (harvested: 66%; unharvested: 44%) and growth (harvested: +2.8 cm; unharvested: -0.8 cm) were higher in harvested compared to unharvested plots. In each of 25 sites (all former wood pastures, abandoned 50–80 years earlier), two 1 ha plots were established. In one of the two plots 26% of the tree basal area was removed during 2002–2003 (all large oaks were retained), whereas the other plot was left unharvested. The number, survival (based on 15 plots) and growth (based on 13 plots) of oak seedlings was recorded using two 100 m transects/plot, containing four subplots (1 × 5 m or 1 × 10 m) each.