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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Irrigate degraded shrublands Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Key messages

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  • One replicated, randomized, controlled study at two sites in USA found that temporary irrigation increased shrub cover.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 2008–2011 in two former pastures in Nevada, USA (Porensky et al. 2014) found that temporary irrigation increased shrub cover. After three years, areas where temporary irrigation was used had higher shrub cover than areas where no irrigation had been carried out (no data reported). At each site fifteen 27 m x 9.3 m plots were irrigated for the first two years of the experiment (2008 and 2009) while fifteen other plots were not irrigated. Grasses and shrubs were planted in all plots before irrigation began. In 2009 and 2011 shrub cover was assessed in all plots.

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.