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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Effects of cattle and sheep grazing regime on beetle and plant assemblages during re-creation of a floodplain meadow at Somerford Mead, Oxfordshire, England

Published source details

Woodcock B.A., Lawson C.S., Mann D.J. & McDonald A.W. (2006) Effects of grazing management on beetle and plant assemblages during the re-creation of a flood-plain meadow. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 116, 225-234


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

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A replicated trial from 1987 to 2004 at Somerford Mead, Oxfordshire, UK (Woodcock et al. 2006) found that both plant and beetle (Coleoptera) communities on an experimentally restored meadow were closest to the flood meadow restoration target under a regime of hay cutting and aftermath grazing. For plants, sheep grazing was slightly better, but for beetles, cattle grazing was better. There were fewer beetles and beetle species on plots cut for hay but without aftermath grazing. After 18 years, neither the plant nor the beetle communities were fully restored to floodplain meadow species assemblages. The site was characterized by a high percentage cover of red fescue Festuca rubra. A former arable field was sown with seed harvested from a local floodplain meadow in 1985. From 1987 it was cut in July and aftermath grazed. From 1989, three aftermath grazing treatments were tested: sheep, cattle or no grazing, on three 0.4 ha plots each. Plants and invertebrates were monitored in 2004 and compared with communities on two nearby floodplain meadows.