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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Maintain wood pasture and parkland Farmland Conservation

Key messages

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Supporting evidence from individual studies


A long-term randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 1972 to 1986 on a traditionally managed wood meadow in Sweden (Hansson & Fogelfors 2000) found that mowing or grazing were needed to preserve the characteristic flora, with annual mowing maintaining the greatest number of plant species. Seven management regimes were compared, including mowing, grazing, burning, removing woody vegetation and abandonment, with two replicates for each treatment. The number of plant species increased significantly on plots mown every year, and remained stable on grazed plots. Reducing the frequency of mowing to every third year did not significantly reduce species richness. Periodic mowing may therefore be a way to preserve wood meadow flora when management resources are limited. Other treatments reduced species richness over time and plots became either dominated by trees (under abandonment) or dominated by a few tall herbs and/or grasses. Treatments were applied in 5 x 20 m plots from 1972 to 1986 with two replicates. Percentage cover of plant species was assessed in five or six 1 m2 subplots/plot in 1972, 1980 and 1986.

Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Dicks, L.V., Ashpole, J.E., Dänhardt, J., James, K., Jönsson, A., Randall, N., Showler, D.A., Smith, R.K., Turpie, S., Williams D.R. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Farmland Conservation Pages 291-330 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.