Development of vegetation on set-aside land for up to nine years from a national perspective

  • Published source details Critchley C.N.R. & Fowbert J.A. (2000) Development of vegetation on set-aside land for up to nine years from a national perspective. Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment, 79, 159-174.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Provide or retain set-aside areas in farmland

    A replicated, randomized site comparison study of non-rotational set-aside up to nine years old at 50 farms in the eastern arable region and 50 in the western mixed farming region in the UK (Critchley and Fowbert 2000) found that plant communities differed between region, establishment method (natural regeneration or sown cover) and site age. Succession continued after five years, with number of plant species increasing over time (7-8 species on older sites, 4-6 on younger sites) along with proportions of perennials and plants characteristic of non-arable habitats. Species richness declined with increasing distance from the field boundary (1 m: 6-8 species; 32 m: 4-7 species). A stratified sample of farms was selected from the Integrated Arable Control System database of the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food. One set-aside site was randomly selected per farm and one field boundary was randomly selected for vegetation sampling. Six quadrats (0.5 x 0.5 m) were sampled along five randomly located transects at distances of 1, 2, 4, 8, 16 and 32m from the boundary.


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