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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Agriculture and the environment

Published source details

Ball D.F. (1984) Agriculture and the environment. Pages 155-162 in: ITE Symposium. NERC/ITE, Cambridge.


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

Restore or create upland heath/moorland Farmland Conservation

A 1984 review of studies in the UK (Ball 1984) concluded that, after removal of grazing, reversion from upland grassland to heather Calluna vulgaris moorland happens very slowly. The review describes two long-term studies (1950s-1970s) that monitored botanical changes following exclusion of sheep from upland grassland plots in England (Welch & Rawes 1964, Rawes 1981, 1983) and Wales (Hughes et al. 1975, Hill 1983). By 1983, early vegetation changes were slow, mainly involving an altered balance of plant species already present on plots, and entry of heath species was limited. This may have been due to a lack of local seed sources or because seeds were unable to germinate in the close grass layer.

Additional references

Welch D. & Rawes M. (1964) The early effects of excluding sheep from high-level grasslands in the northern Pennines. Journal of Applied Ecology, 1, 281-300.

Hughes R.E., Dale J., Lutman J. & Thomson A.G. (1975) Effects of grazing on upland vegetation in Snowdonia. Annual Report of Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, 1974, 46-50.

Rawes M. (1981) Further results of excluding sheep from high level grasslands in the northern Pennines. Journal of Ecology, 69, 651-669.

Hill M.O. (1983) Effects of grazing in Snowdonia. Annual Report of Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, 1982, 31-32.

Rawes M. (1983) Changes in two high altitude blanket bogs after the cessation of sheep grazing. Journal of Ecology, 71, 219-235.

Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland) Farmland Conservation

A 1984 review of studies in the UK (Ball 1984) concluded that natural restoration of target heather Calluna vulgaris moorland by removing grazing from upland grassland will happen very slowly. The review describes two long-term studies (1950s-1970s) that monitored botanical changes following exclusion of sheep from upland grassland plots in England (Welch & Rawes 1964, Rawes 1981, 1983) and Wales (Hughes et al 1975, Hill 1983). By 1983, early vegetation changes were slow, mainly involving an altered balance of plant species already present on plots, and entry of heath species was limited. This may have been due to a lack of local seed sources or because seeds were unable to germinate in the close grass turf.

Additional references:

Welch D. & Rawes M. (1964) The early effects of excluding sheep from high-level grasslands in the northern Pennines. Journal of Applied Ecology, 1, 281-300.

Hughes R.E., Dale J., Lutman J. & Thomson A.G. (1975) Effects of grazing on upland vegetation in Snowdonia. Annual Report of Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, 1974, 46-50.

Rawes M. (1981) Further results of excluding sheep from high level grasslands in the northern Pennines. Journal of Ecology, 69, 651-669.

Hill M.O. (1983) Effects of grazing in Snowdonia. Annual Report of Institute of Terrestrial Ecology, 1982, 31-32.

Rawes M. (1983) Changes in two high altitude blanket bogs after the cessation of sheep grazing. Journal of Ecology, 71, 219-235.