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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A systematic review to assess if burning of UK sub-montane, dry dwarf-shrub heath maintains vegetation diversity

Published source details

Stewart G.B., Coles C.F. & Pullin A.S. (2004) Does burning of UK sub-montane, dry dwarf-shrub heath maintain vegetation diversity? Systematic Review No. 2. Centre for Evidence-Based Conservation


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

Reinstate the use of traditional burning practices Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A systematic review of five studies of the impact of prescribed burning on lowland dry heathland vegetation in the UK (Stewart et al. 2004) found that prescribed burning did not alter the diversity (presented as Simpson’s diversity) or number of plant species of heathland sites. There was no evidence of publication bias that would influence the outcomes of the systematic review. The systematic review summarised the impacts of prescribed burning at 12 sites from five studies, with six of the sites representing before-and-after trials and the remaining six representing site comparisons. Of 280 potentially relevant references only five presented information on the impacts of prescribed fire that could be used by the systematic review.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)