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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Restoration of species-rich grassland by sowing, hay-cutting and sheep grazing on arable land in lowland England

Published source details

Pywell R.F., Bullock J.M., Hopkins A., Walker K.J., Sparks T.H., Burke M.J.W. & Peel S. (2002) Restoration of species-rich grassland on arable land: assessing the limiting processes using a multi-site experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 39, 294-309


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 randomized, replicated study in 1994-1998 in arable fields in five lowland areas in the UK (Pywell et al. 2002) found that ploughing to 30-40 cm depth and sowing with a species-rich seed mixture created a community similar to the target community on neutral soils. This was significantly more successful than natural regeneration or sowing with a species-poor mix. Sites on acidic or calcareous soils were less similar to their specific target communities. Sowing a nurse crop had no beneficial effects. All treatments reduced nutrient levels. The five sites had four replicate blocks each containing seven experimental plots with different treatments. Vegetation was cut and removed each year in June or July, and sheep were grazed between October and December at 25-40 sheep/ha for six to eight weeks. Vegetation sampling used three 40 x 40 cm quadrats randomly placed within each plot in June each year. Nutrient sampling used ten soil samples per plot in September 1994 and 1998.