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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The number of plant species on a grassland did not increase with early, or late annual mowing, in northern Finland

Published source details

Hellstrom K., Huhta A.P., Rautio P. & Tuomi J. (2006) Search for optimal mowing regime - slow community change in a restoration trial in northern Finland. Annales Botanici Fennici, 43, 338-348


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

Delay mowing or first grazing date on pasture or grassland Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial in northern Finland (Hellström et al. 2006) found that the number of plant species (not including mosses and lichens) and the cover of mosses and lichens were not different in meadow plots mown in August and those mown in June over five years. There were 14 plant species/plot on average in 1998 (not including mosses and lichens) and 12 species/plot in 2003, with no differences between mowing treatments. Some species responded to treatments. For example, August mowing plus disturbance favoured harebell Campanula rotundifolia but reduced cover of common bent grass Agrostris capillaris. The cover of mosses and lichens fluctuated between years, but was not different between mowing treatments. The meadow was abandoned in 1985. In 1993, it was divided into forty 50 x 50 cm study plots, each at least 2 m apart, and annually mown in August, without grazing. From 1998, ten plots were mown in June, ten in August, and ten mown in August with bare soil exposed in 25% of the plot area, using a spade. Ten control plots were not mown. The percentage cover of all plant species (including mosses and lichens) in the treatment plots was monitored in June every year from 1998 to 2003.

 

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial on an abandoned meadow in northern Finland (Hellström et al. 2006) found that the number of plant species (excluding mosses and lichens) hardly changed over five years in response to regular annual mowing. However mosses and lichens were maintained by mowing and declined to almost nothing in unmown control plots. There were 14 plant species/plot on average in 1998 and 12 species/plot in 2003, with no differences between mowing treatments. Some species responded to treatments. For example, August mowing plus disturbance favoured harebell Campanula rotundifolia but reduced cover of common bent grass Agrostis capillaris. The cover of mosses and lichens fluctuated between years, but was not different between mowing treatments. The meadow was abandoned in 1985. In 1993, it was divided into forty 50 x 50 cm study plots, each at least 2 m apart, and annually mown in August, without grazing. From 1998, 10 plots were mown in June, 10 in August, and 10 mown in August with bare soil exposed in 25% of the plot area, using a spade. Ten control plots were not mown. The percentage cover of all plant species (including mosses and lichens) in the treatment plots was monitored in June every year from 1998 to 2003.

 

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

A randomized, replicated, controlled trial from 1998 to 2003 on a meadow in northern Finland (Hellström et al. 2006) (same study site as (Hellström et al. 2009)) found that the number of plant species did not increase in response to conservation-oriented mowing regimes. There were 14 plant species/plot on average in 1998 (not including mosses and lichens) and 12 species/plot in 2003, and no difference between mowing treatments. Some species responded to treatments. For example, late mowing plus disturbance favoured harebell Campanula rotundifolia but reduced the cover of common bent grass Agrostis capillaris. The Kiiminki Haaraoja Meadow in northern Finland was traditionally grazed, but abandoned in 1985. In 1993, the meadow was divided into forty 50 x 50 cm study plots, each at least 2 m apart, and annually mown in August, without grazing. From 1998, ten plots were mown in June, ten in August, and ten mown in August with bare soil exposed in 25% of the plot area, using a spade. Ten control plots were not mown. The percentage cover of all plant species (including mosses and lichens) in the treatment plots was monitored in June every year from 1998 to 2003.