Effects of sowing and cutting and/or grazing management on vegetation succession during grassland restoration on a former arable field, Craibstone Estate, Aberdeenshire, Scotland

  • Published source details Warren J., Christal A. & Wilson F. (2002) Effects of sowing and management on vegetation succession during grassland habitat restoration. Agriculture, Ecosystems and Environment, 93, 393-402


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 replicated trial from 1994 to 1990 in Aberdeenshire, Scotland (Warren et al. 2002), found that sowing meadow plants followed by summer cattle grazing achieved the best results in terms of recreating a species-rich grassland on a former arable field last ploughed in 1993. After six years, sown plots on average contained more sown species (4.9 species/m²) and had greater cover of sown species (97%) than non-sown plots (1.8/m², 43%). Cattle grazed plots contained more sown species (4.8/m²) than sheep grazed plots (2.2/m²), but sheep grazed plots had greater sown species cover (91% vs 46%). August cut plots with cuttings removed had more sown species but lower cover than plots with cuttings left (3.4 vs 2.3/m², 63% vs 76%, respectively). Twenty-four 20 x 40 m fenced plots were either sown with ten herb and four grass species from a crested dog’s tail Cynosurus cristatus-lesser knapweed Centaurea nigra (UK National Vegetation Classification MG5) grazed hay meadow community or not sown after ploughing in April 1993. Within these treatments, six management treatments were tested: sheep or cattle summer grazing, cut in June with aftermath grazing by sheep or cattle, or cut in August with cuttings either left or removed. No plots were cut in August with aftermath grazing.


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