Action: Remove leaf litter
Key messagesRead our guidance on Key messages before continuing
- One randomized, controlled study in the UK found that removing leaf litter did not alter the presence of heather.
Removal of leaf litter may help to increase the amount of light that reaches the soil surface, thereby increasing the probability that shrubland plants will be able to colonize.
Supporting evidence from individual studies
A randomized, controlled study between 1991 and 2004 in a former pine plantation in Kent, United Kingdom (1) found that 12 years after removing leaf litter the frequency of heather Calluna vulgaris was the same as in areas where leaf litter was not removed. After 12 years there was no significant difference in the frequency of heather between areas where leaf litter was removed (heather present in 99% of plots) and areas where leaf litter was not removed (heather present in 69% of plots). Four blocks consisting of two 25 m2 plots were located in the plantation. In one plot leaf litter was removed and in the other leaf litter was not removed. In each plot ten 0.25 m2 quadrats were used to record the frequency of heather plants.