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Individual study: Grasslands under agri-environment schemes in Bavaria, Germany, do not have more plant species than control grasslands; a replicated paired site comparison

Published source details

Mayer F., Heinz S. & Kuhn G. (2008) Effects of agri-environment schemes on plant diversity in Bavarian grasslands. Community Ecology, 9, 229-236


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

Maintain traditional orchards Farmland Conservation

A replicated paired site comparison in Bavaria, Germany (Mayer et al. 2008) found that traditional orchards managed under the Bavarian agri-environment scheme ‘Agricultural Landscape Programme’ (KULAP) did not have more plant species than paired control sites. There were 26 site pairs, and around 18-20 plant species/site. Pairs of 25 m2 grassland plots were selected from 4,400 plots in the Bavarian grassland survey. All plant species within the plot were recorded between April and October (year not given). Plot pairs were in the same natural landscape, 90% within 10 km of each other. In each pair, one plot was under an agri-environment scheme agreement, the other was not - in this case traditional orchard management.

 

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

A replicated paired site comparison in Bavaria, Germany (Mayer et al. 2008) found that most grasslands managed extensively under the Bavarian ‘Agricultural Landscape Programme’ (KULAP) did not have more plant species than paired control sites, but sites with a strict regime of no chemical fertilizers or pesticides as part of the agreement did have more plant species. There were 17-20 plant species/site on both agreement and control sites (314 site pairs). These agreements restricted chemical pesticide use and livestock stocking rates (0.5-2.5 units/ha). Fertilizer use was allowed on 189 of the sites, mineral fertilizer was not allowed on 125 sites, but these two types were analysed separately and neither showed a difference in numbers of plant species. Another set of 91 site pairs where agreement sites had delayed cutting date (first cutting dates of 1 July or 15 June, combined with maximum of two livestock units/ha, no mineral fertilizer) were also not different from paired control sites (21-24 plant species/site). There were more plant species on grasslands with no chemical pesticide or fertilizer inputs allowed (also limited to 2 livestock units/ha; 57 site pairs). These sites had around 22 plant species/site, compared to around 18 species/site on paired control sites. Pairs of 25 m2 grassland plots were selected from 4,400 plots in the Bavarian grassland survey. All plant species within the plot were recorded between April and October (year not given). Plot pairs were in the same natural landscape, 90% within 10 km of each other. In each pair, there was one with and one without an agri-environment scheme agreement.

 

Pay farmers to cover the cost of conservation measures (as in agri-environment schemes) Farmland Conservation

A replicated paired site comparison in Bavaria, Germany (Mayer et al. 2008) found that grasslands under the ‘Agricultural Landscape Programme’ (KULAP) did not have more plant species than control grasslands overall. There were 18-23 plant species/plot on sites with any KULAP agreement, compared to 18-22 plant species/paired control plot (215 site pairs). When considering only sites with site-related (rather than whole farm) agreements, there were more plant species under the KULAP scheme (around 22 species/site) than on paired control sites (<20 species/site; 90 site pairs). There were also more plant species/site on 58 Contract Nature Protection Scheme sites (25 species/plot) compared to paired control plots (about 17 species/plot). Nine-hundred-and-thirty-six pairs of 25 m2 grassland plots were selected from 4,400 plots in the Bavarian grassland survey. All plant species within the plot were recorded between April and October (year not given). Plot pairs were in the same natural landscape, 90% within 10 km of each other. In each pair there was one with and one without an agri-environment scheme agreement.