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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of agricultural management on the soil biota of some upland grasslands

Published source details

Bardgett R.D., Frankland J.C. & Whittaker J.B. (1993) The effects of agricultural management on the soil biota of some upland grasslands. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 45, 25-45


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

Maintain upland heath/moorland Farmland Conservation

An unreplicated controlled site comparison study in 1987-1990 at two upland grassland sites in Cumbria, England (Bardgett et al. 1993) found that the number of soil-dwelling invertebrates and quantity of fungal mycelium was greater in plots with more intensive sheep grazing. Three adjacent upland grassland plots and an ungrazed control were compared between November 1987 and April 1990: heavily grazed (5-8 ewes/ha, limed and fertilized), moderately grazed (3-5 ewes/ha, limed) and lightly grazed (1 ewe/ha). The average number of springtails (Collembola) in the surface soil was significantly higher in the heavily grazed plot (44 x 103/m2) than in the lightly grazed plot (20 x 103/m2), as were number of earthworms (Lumbricidae, 18 x 103/m2 compared to 8 x 103/m2) and cranefly larvae (Tipulidae, 38 x 103/m2 compared to 1 x 103/m2). The quantity of fungal mycelium in the surface soil was also greater in the heavily grazed plot. The trial did not separate grazing impacts from liming and fertilizer use, which may also have influenced the soil biota.