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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grasslands: Ecology, Management & Restoration

Published source details

Woodcock B.A., Mortimer S.R., Edwards A.R., Lawson C.S., Westbury D.B., Brook A.J., Harris S.J. & Brown V.K. (2008) Grasslands: Ecology, Management & Restoration. in: Re-creating plant and beetle assemblages of species-rich chalk grasslands on ex-arable land. Nova Science Publishers, Inc,

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 study of chalk grassland restoration on land taken out of arable production in Oxfordshire, UK (Woodcock et al. 2008) found that plant and beetle (Coleoptera) species richness tended to be higher when seeds from the local area were applied by brush harvesting or hay spreading. Sowing of a grass-only seed mix, reduced the overall number of plant (36 vs 40 species) and beetle species (5-7 vs 6-8 species), independent of whether or not it was used in combination with the addition of local seeds. Plant species richness tended to be higher in plots receiving brush-harvested seeds or hay than controls, although there was limited change in those plots from 2002 to 2004 (at low or high seed application rates). The highest beetle species richness was found on plots with high rates of hay application without grass-only seed mix. Changes in beetle community structure were significant for control, high rate hay spreading, grass-only and low rate brush harvesting with grass-only mix. Plots receiving local seeds tended to become more similar to the donor plant community over time. The similarity was greatest in plots without the grass-only mix and with brush harvesting at a high rate for plants, and high rate hay spreading for beetles. Changes in beetle assemblage were much greater than for plants. Forty plots of 10 x 10 m were established in four blocks. Grass-only seed mixture was sown in half the plots in August. Seeds from the local area were obtained from an adjacent unimproved chalk grassland and were applied by brush harvesting or hay at high or low rates. Plots were grazed by sheep but were not cut. Plants were sampled in ten 0.5 x 0.5 m randomly located quadrats/plot in August 2002-2004, the donor site was sampled in 2004. Plant-eating beetles were sampled using a Vortis suction sampler (15 positions/plot) in May, July and September in 2002-2004, the donor site was sampled in 2001.