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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Cut trees and remove tree seedlings Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Key messages

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  • A controlled, before-and-after study in South Africa found that cutting orange wattle trees and removing seedlings of the same species increased plant diversity and shrub cover.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A controlled, before-and-after study in 2013-2014 in a fynbos site in Cape Town, South Africa (Krupek et al. 2016) found that cutting of invasive orange wattle Acacia saligna trees, followed by removal of the species’ seedlings increased plant diversity and shrub cover. Plant species diversity was higher in areas where orange wattle trees were cut and had seedlings removed than areas where no cutting or seedling removal had been carried out (data as model results). Cutting and removal of seedlings also led to higher shrub cover (10% cover) compared to areas that had not been cut or had seedlings removed (5% cover). In April 2013 orange wattle saplings were cut using loppers and seedlings removed by hand in ten 25 m2 plots, while another 10 plots were left uncut. The cover of plant species was assessed using 1 m2 quadrats placed inside each plot.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Martin P.A., Rocha R., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2019) Shrubland and Heathland Conservation. Pages 493-538 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.