Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Establishment of a mobile sheep flock to maintain and improve mesotrophic species-rich grasslands in Fife and Falkirk, Scotland

Published source details

Whyte A. (2010) Establishment of a mobile sheep flock to maintain and improve mesotrophic species-rich grasslands in Fife and Falkirk, Scotland. Conservation Evidence, 7, 44-51

Summary

The Scottish Wildlife Trust established a mobile flock of sheep to manage its Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) designated grasslands in eastern Scotland. A programme of monitoring (quadrat sampling and 'Site Condition Monitoring') was established to record vegetation responses to sheep grazing over several years. The project has resulted in the sheep-grazed grasslands moving towards favourable condition in terms of target plant communities. It has highlighted the need to take a flexible and responsive approach to conservation grazing, and has demonstrated the usefulness and necessity of detailed monitoring in guiding changes to grazing regimes; the level of grazing 'fine-tuning' could not have been achieved, in this instance, using external graziers.