Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands

  • Published source details Edwards A.R., Mortimer S.R., Lawson C.S., Westbury D.B., Harris S.J., Woodcock B.A. & Brown V.K. (2007) Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134, 372-382.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 2000 to 2004 at a farm in East Sussex, UK (Edwards et al. 2007) found that hay spreading was the most effective technique for restoring a hay meadow plant community similar to the seed donor site. Both hay spreading and the addition of brush-harvested seed increased plant species richness, and harrowing increased the effectiveness of the seed addition treatments. Hay spreading was thought more effective because it captured seeds from a greater range of heights in the sward, and allowed for seeds to mature on the restored site after the restoration activity. Eight different combinations of harrowing and the two methods of applying seed were tested, on land that had been improved agricultural grassland, with two different rates of hay application. There were four replicates of each combination of treatments. Plants were monitored before treatment (July 2000) in two random plots from each block, and every June from 2001 to 2004, in ten 50 x 50 cm quadrats in each plot.


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