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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The response of invertebrate assemblies to grazing

Published source details

Gibson C.W.D., Brown V.K., Losito L. & McGavin G.C. (1992) The response of invertebrate assemblies to grazing. Ecography, 15, 166-176


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

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland (including seasonal removal of livestock) Farmland Conservation

A controlled, replicated trial in 1985-1989 on grassland in Oxfordshire, England (Gibson et al. 1992) found that as sheep grazing intensity increased, the number of species of bugs (Heteroptera), herbivorous beetles (Coleoptera), leafhoppers (Auchenorrhyncha), leaf miners and spiders (Araneae) decreased. In the most intensively grazed treatments, the total number of species of bugs, herbivorous beetles, leafhoppers, leaf miners and spiders was 11, 16, 17, 16 and 17 respectively, compared to 19, 24, 20, 34 and 25 in the least grazed treatment. Grazing treatments began in 1985. Three treatments were replicated six times in 30 x 30 m paddocks (ungrazed control, short-period spring and short-period autumn grazing) and two treatments were applied in larger areas (spring-and-autumn grazing and long-period autumn grazing, not replicated). Plants were surveyed four times a year in 12 quadrats (1 m2) in each replicate.