Providing the evidence base to improve the efficacy of management guidelines for upland hay meadows

  • Published source details Critchley C.N.R., Martin D., Fowbert J.A. & Wright B. (2007) Providing the evidence base to improve the efficacy of management guidelines for upland hay meadows. Pages 129-134 in: J. Hopkins, A.J. Duncan, D.I. McCracken, S. Peel & J.R.B. Tallowin (eds.) High value grassland: Providing biodiversity, a clean environment and premium products. British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium No.38. British Grassland Society (BGS), Reading.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once)

    A replicated trial in the Pennine Dales, UK (Critchley et al. 2007b) found that plant species richness declined on 147 upland hay meadows managed under the Environmentally Sensitive Areas scheme between 1995 and 2002. Eighty-seven sites under Tier 1 of the scheme allowed 125 kg/ha of nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium (NPK) fertilizer/year, 12.5 tonnes/ha of manure, cutting after 8 July, with grazing allowed until 7 weeks before cutting. Sixty sites under Tier 2 of the scheme allowed no mineral fertilizer, 12.5 tonnes/ha of manure, cutting after 15 July, with no grazing after 15 May. Lime addition and herbicide were allowed with written approval under both Tiers. Tier 1 sites had an average of three fewer plant species in 2002 than in 1995. Tier 2 sites had on average 1.5 fewer species. The fall in species richness was significant for herbaceous (forb) species, but not for grass species. Sweet vernal grass Anthoxanthum odoratum, wood cranesbill Geranium sylvaticum, meadow buttercup Ranunculus acris and yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor were all less frequently found in 2002 than in 1995.


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