Action Synopsis: Bird Conservation About Actions

Provide ‘sacrificial’ grasslands to reduce the impact of wild geese on crops

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Study locations

Key messages

Two studies in the UK found that managing grasslands for geese increased the number grazing there. However, both found that the birds were moving within a relatively small area (i.e. within the study sites) and therefore the grasslands may not reduce conflict with farmers.


About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after study in Gloucestershire, England (Owen 1977) found that up to 87% of geese on a grassland site used a 130 ha area managed for them in 1975-6. The interventions used are discussed in ‘Reduce grazing intensity’, ‘Increase crop diversity’ and ‘Undersow spring cereals’.

    Study and other actions tested
  2. A replicated, controlled trial in 1984-7 on a reserve on the island of Islay, west Scotland (Percival 1993), found more barnacle geese Branta leucopsis used wet pasture fields if they were re-seeded or fertilised than if they were unmanaged. However, increases were due to a redistribution of local birds, rather than new birds visiting the reserve. The author therefore suggests that improving the reserve grasslands will only minimally reduce conflict with farmers elsewhere on the island. The details of management interventions are discussed in ‘Re-seed grasslands’ and ‘Fertilise grasslands’.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2020) Bird Conservation. Pages 137-281 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2020. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.


Where has this evidence come from?

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Bird Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Bird Conservation
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