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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Agricultural regime modification on two Wildfowl Trust reserves benefits wintering geese at Slimbridge (Gloucestershire), England and Caerlaverock (Dumfriesshire), Scotland

Published source details

Owen M. (1977) The role of wildfowl refuges on agricultural land in lessening the conflict between farmers and geese in Britain. Biological Conservation, 11, 209-222


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

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

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’.

 

Undersow spring cereals, with clover for example Farmland Conservation

A before-and-after study in Dumfries, southern Scotland (Owen 1977) found that the number of barnacle geese Branta leucopsis on a mixed agricultural site and nature reserve increased from 3,200 in 1970 to 6,000 in 1975 after all cereals sown on the site were undersown from 1970 onwards. The nature reserve consists of 220 ha of salt pasture, whilst the agricultural land is 50 ha arable fields. Most of the increased goose numbers feed on the arable land. In addition to undersowing, the proportion of cereals grown on the arable land decreased and no stock were allowed to graze on the arable land after November.

 

Increase crop diversity to benefit birds Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study in Dumfries, southern Scotland (Owens 1977), found that the number of barnacle geese Branta leucopsis on a mixed agricultural site and nature reserve increased from 3,200 in 1970 to 6,000 in 1975 following a reduction in the amount of cereals grown on arable land. From 1970 onwards, only 16.7% of the 50 ha of arable land was used for cereals. In addition, all cereals were undersown (see ‘Undersow spring cereals’) and no stock were allowed to graze on the arable land after November (see ‘Reduce grazing intensity on permanent grassland’).

 

Undersow spring cereals, with clover for example Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study in Dumfries, southern Scotland (Owen 1977), found that the number of barnacle geese Branta leucopsis on a mixed agricultural site and nature reserve increased from 3,200 in 1970 to 6,000 in 1975 after all cereals sown on the site were undersown from 1970 onwards. The nature reserve consisted of 220 ha of salt pasture, whilst the agricultural land was 50 ha of arable fields. Most of the extra geese fed on the arable land. In addition to undersowing, the proportion of cereals grown on the arable land decreased (see ‘Increase crop diversity’ for details) and no stock were allowed to graze on the arable land after November. The paper also discussed the impact of reducing grazing intensity, see ‘Reduce grazing intensity on permanent grassland’.

 

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland (including seasonal removal of livestock) Farmland Conservation

A before-and-after study in Gloucestershire, England (Owen 1977) found that the proportion of geese on a grassland site using a specifically managed 130 ha area increased from 33% in the winter of 1970-1971 to 87% by 1975-1976, following a reduction in grazing intensity over this period. Starting in 1970, stock were sequentially removed from three sections of the area: the first was ungrazed from the 30th September, the second from the 31st October and the third from the 30th November. A fourth area was not grazed at all.

 

Provide 'sacrificial' grasslands to reduce the impact of wild geese on crops Farmland Conservation

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 1975-1976. The main management practice was to change the stocking regime of the site.

 

Reduce grazing intensity Bird Conservation

A before-and-after study in Gloucestershire, England, (Owen 1977), found that the proportion of geese on a grassland site using a specifically managed 130 ha area increased from 33% in the winter of 1970-1971 to 87% by 1975-1976, following a reduction in grazing intensity over this period. Starting in 1970, stock were sequentially removed from three sections of the area: the first was ungrazed from the 30th September, the second from the 31st October and the third from the 30th November. A fourth area was not grazed at all. Other interventions are discussed in ‘Increase crop diversity’ and ‘Undersow spring cereals’.