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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Furrow ploughing and grazing to manage perennial knawel Scleranthus perennis prostratus habitat in the Brecklands of north Suffolk, England

Published source details

Leonard Y. (2006) Furrow ploughing and grazing to manage perennial knawel Scleranthus perennis prostratus habitat in the Brecklands of north Suffolk, England. Conservation Evidence, 3, 22-23

Summary

The endemic subspecies of perennial knawel Scleranthus perennis prostratus is a declining plant found only in the Breckland area of eastern England. In 1978, a population of 1,670 individuals was recorded in a small 6.8 ha patch of heathland. In 1994, a survey found only 32 mature plants. In an attempt to enhance habitat conditions, old furrows were re-ploughed and sheep-grazing introduced to break up the ground and reinstate patches of bare ground suitable for germination and seedling growth. As a consequence of management, and also rabbit Oryctolagus cuniculus grazing, the perennial knawel population increased, by 2000 several thousand plants were recorded. An experimental exclosure showed that in the absence of sheep and rabbit grazing, and period disturbance management, the perennial knawel died out.