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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Management by hay cutting and grazing rapidly increases plant species richness, on an improved upland grassland in the Cambrian Mountains, West Wales

Published source details

Morgan M., McLean B.M. & Davies O.D. (2008) Long term studies to determine management practices to enhance biodiversity within semi-natural grassland communities. Pages 992-994 in: Grassland Science in Europe. 13, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala.

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

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A replicated controlled trial at the Pwllpeiran Research Centre, in the Cambrian Mountains, west Wales (Morgan et al. 2008) (partly the same study as (Hayes & Tallowin 2007)) found that plant species richness increased and rye grass Lolium perenne cover declined on improved upland grassland after ten years of management with hay cutting and/or grazing but no fertilizer addition. In the restoration plots, rye grass cover declined from 58% to just under 10% on average. All treatments enhanced plant species richness, but the hay cut and grazing combined treatments were the most effective. These plots had an average of 51 species/plot by 2005, compared to 24 species in control plots. They also had almost 50% cover by non-grass, desirable herbaceous species (forbs). Treatments with hay cut but no grazing had 29-30 species on average in 2005, and those with grazing only had 31-35 plant species in 2005. Both had an increase in weedy, undesirable species. Seven management treatments were set up in 1994 on 0.15 ha plots with three replicates of each treatment. Control plots had standard intensive management, fertilized with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium (NPK) fertilizer, limed and grazed by sheep. Six restoration treatments were either grazed from April to November, cut for hay in July/August without grazing, or hay cut and grazed from September to November, each with or without lime added in 1998. Plots with an application of lime had more desirable species by 2005 than those without lime.