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Providing evidence to improve practice

The journal, Conservation Evidence

Our online journal publishes research, monitoring results and case studies on the effects of conservation interventions. All papers include some monitoring of the effects of the intervention and are written by, or in partnership with, those who did the conservation work. It includes interventions such as habitat creation, habitat restoration, translocations, reintroductions, invasive species control, and education or integrated conservation development programmes, from anywhere around the world.

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A volume is created each year with peer-reviewed papers published throughout the year. We now accept Short Communications as well as standard papers.

Special issues contain new papers on a specific topic.

Virtual collections collate papers published in the journal on specific topics such as management of particular groups of species.

To search for papers on a specific topic within the journal select Advanced search, enter your keyword(s) and within the Source box type: "conservation evidence". This will take you to a list of actions that contain Conservation Evidence papers. In order to see the list of individual Conservation Evidence papers on the topic, please click on 'You can also search Individual Studies' at the top of this page.

Wetland Conservation



This virtual collection contains 11 papers from the Conservation Evidence journal on the conservation and restoration of wetland habitats.

We report the results of a nine year study of the effects of restoring low-intensity cattle grazing on the post-fire recovery of vegetation on the lowland valley mire and wet heath of Folly Bog, Surrey, UK. Four distinct vegetation communities were studied, with repeated recording of quadrats (n = 652) inside and outside grazing exclosures. Species richness increased across the valley mire, largely as a result of grazing-induced decreases in purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea and litter and increases in bare ground. Uncompetitive liverworts and waterlogging tolerant graminoids were particularly favoured. Purple moor-grass and litter removal also encouraged the spread of bog-mosses Sphagnum spp., although trampling in the wettest vegetation resulted in locally severe damage to the moss layer. On the firmer substrates of the wet heath, there were no such deleterious trampling impacts. Here, both bog-moss cover and species richness increased significantly, largely due to suppression of shade-producing heather Calluna vulgaris and litter, and the maintenance of bare ground. Our results reveal that the resumption of low intensity cattle grazing had many positive conservation benefits. However, site managers need to consider grazing on a site-by-site basis and retain flexibility to change stocking times and levels as conditions dictate. Other forms of management to supplement grazing will most likely continue to be required.

 

At a newly created wetland nature reserve in eastern England, a pair of water buffalo Bubalus bubalis was introduced with the aim of maintaining early successional habitats and creating a heterogeneous vegetation structure. The water buffalo grazed the required parts of the fen and reedbed, and created submerged tracks. These tracks may be used by fish to disperse into the reedbed and provide foraging areas for bitterns Botaurus stellaris.

 

Barriers made from willow Salix spp. bundles were installed along sections of the River Cam to protect the river banks from erosion. Subsequently, a more gently sloping river bank was created which was colonised by a range of riparian plants. These vegetated margins developed into an attractive wildlife habitat and are effectively protecting these river bank sections from further erosion.

Artificial macrophytes have been suggested as a means of improving water quality by providing zooplankton refugia. Plastic brushes provided a short term reduction in phosphates as they were absorbed by the periphyton growing on the brushes. They also provided a refuge for invertebrates. After two years, the brushes became colonised by sponges, which greatly reduced their long term usefulness as invertebrate habitat.

Native wetland species were planted within coir pallets to encourage plant colonisation along a shallow wetland margin in an attempt to improve water quality. Although some species initially grew well they were unable to withstand a period of hot weather and low water levels.

Removal of overhanging alder Alnus glutinosa and grey sallow Salix cinerea carr from the edge of an East Anglian broad led to a vigorous growth of riparian plants around the water's edge.

An island made of coir pallets supported by PVC floats was created with the objectives of producing an island of emergent vegetation and to cover a navigation hazard. Many of the planted species grew well and resulted in a reasonable cover of emergent vegetation. The island edges needed replanting where eroded by wave action.

Removal of alder Alnus glutinosa and grey sallow Salix cinerea carr from the edge of Hoveton Great Broad led to restoration of vegetation around the littoral margin; after removal of trees from some of the wetland edge emergent littoral plants showed vigorous growth.

A 15 ha saline lagoon was created in 2002 as part of a flood defence scheme at a site on the east coast of England. It has subsequently been used by a range of wintering and breeding waders and waterfowl.

Former cattle-grazed grassland and arable land were converted into wet grassland by raising the water level. Over the next five years the vegetation shifted towards plant communities characteristic of wet grassland.

At Berney Marshes RSPB Reserve, water levels were raised, foot drains were added, and grazing by sheep was introduced. The plant communities shifted towards communities' characteristic of lowland wet grassland. Breeding wading bird numbers increased in response to these habitat changes.