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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Exclude wild herbivores using physical barriers Peatland Conservation

Key messages

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  • One study evaluated the effects on peatland vegetation of physically excluding wild herbivores. The study was in a fen meadow.
  • Vegetation cover (1 study): One replicated, paired, controlled study in a fen meadow in Poland reported that the effect of boar- and deer exclusion on vascular plant and moss cover depended on other treatments applied to plots.
  • Vegetation structure (1 study): The same study reported that the effect of boar- and deer exclusion on total vegetation biomass depended on other treatments applied to plots.
  • Overall plant richness/diversity (1 study): The same study reported that the effect of boar- and deer exclusion on plant species richness depended on other treatments applied to plots.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

1 

A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2004–2007 in a degraded fen meadow in Poland (Klimkowska et al. 2010) found that the effect of fencing (to exclude wild herbivores) on vegetation depended on other treatments applied to plots: hay addition and topsoil stripping. This was true for plant species richness, vascular plant cover, moss cover and vegetation biomass (reported as statistical model results). For example, amongst areas stripped of 20 cm of topsoil, fencing increased plant species richness if hay was not added, but reduced richness if hay was added. These comparisons were not tested for statistical significance. In 2004, eight pairs of plots (8 x 16 m) were established in a drained fen meadow grazed by wild boar and deer. Eight plots (one plot/pair) were fenced to exclude these herbivores. The other plots were not fenced. Additionally, all plots were stripped of topsoil (20 or 40 cm deep), and parts of each plot were sown with hay from a nearby fen meadow (details not clear). Vegetation cover and plant species were recorded annually between 2004 (after stripping and fencing) and 2007. Total vegetation biomass was measured from clippings taken in August 2006–2007.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Taylor N.G., Grillas P. & Sutherland W.J. (2018) Peatland Conservation. Pages 329-392 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.