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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Reduced management intensity on grassland can benefit plant and insect diversity, but not always - a review

Published source details

Fisher G.E.J. & Rahmann G. (1997) Extensification - benefits and disadvantages to grassland biodiversity. Grassland Science in Europe, 2, 115-123

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

Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once) Farmland Conservation

A review in 1997 (Fisher & Rahmann 1997) found that reduced management intensity on grassland can benefit plant and insect diversity, but it does not always. Five European studies monitored the biodiversity effects of reducing management intensity on lowland grasslands. Two of these studies (Bakker 1994, Wind et al. 1994) showed an increase in plant diversity, and one an increase in invertebrate diversity (Blake et al. 1996) following restoration of the plant community by sowing. In all three cases, the changes took many years. They covered periods of between seven and 20 years and none of the studies measured diversity equivalent to species-rich semi-natural grasslands after this time period. Two other studies (Marriott et al. 1994, Neuteboom et al. 1994) showed that reduced management intensity did not improve plant diversity. The review found no direct evidence for effects of extensification in upland grasslands.

Additional references:

Bakker J.P. (1994) Nature management in Dutch grasslands. Proceedings of the British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium, 28. pp 115-124.

Marriott C.A., Bolton G.R., Common T.G., Small J.L. & Barthram G.T. (1994) Effects of extensification of sheep grazing systems on animal production and species composition of the sward. Proceedings of the 16th Meeting of the European Grassland Federation. pp 505-509.

Neuteboom J.H., t'Mannetje L., Lantinga E.A. & Wind K. (1994) Botanical composition, yield and herbage quality of swards of different age on organic meadowlands. Proceedings of the 15th Meeting of the European Grassland Federation. pp 320-323.

Blake S., Foster G.N., Fisher G.E.J. & Ligertwood G.L. (1996) Effects of management practices on the carabid faunas of newly established wildflower meadows in southern Scotland. Annales Zoologici Fennici, 33, 139-147.