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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of litter removal on etablishment of heather Calluna vulgaris on a recently deforested heathland at Tudeley Woods RSPB Reserve, Kent, England

Published source details

Allison M. & Ausden M. (2006) Effects of removing the litter and humic layers on heathland establishment following plantation removal. Biological Conservation, 127, 177-182


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

Remove leaf litter Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, controlled study between 1991 and 2004 in a former pine plantation in Kent, United Kingdom (1) found that 12 years after removing leaf litter the frequency of heather Calluna vulgaris was the same as in areas where leaf litter was not removed. After 12 years there was no significant difference in the frequency of heather between areas where leaf litter was removed (heather present in 99% of plots) and areas where leaf litter was not removed (heather present in 69% of plots). Four blocks consisting of two 25 m2 plots were located in the plantation. In one plot leaf litter was removed and in the other leaf litter was not removed. In each plot ten 0.25 m2 quadrats were used to record the frequency of heather plants.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Spread clippings Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, controlled study between 1991 and 2004 in a former pine plantation in Kent, UK (3) found that 12 years after spreading heather Calluna vulgaris clippings the frequency of heather plants was the same as in areas where clippings were not spread. After 12 years there was no significant difference in the frequency of heather between areas where heather clippings were added (heather present in 95% of plots) and areas where clippings were not added (heather present in 99% of plots). Four blocks consisting of two 25 m2 plots were established. In one plot leaf litter was removed and in the other leaf litter was removed and heather clippings added. In each plot ten 0.25 m2 quadrats were placed and used to record frequency of heather plants.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)