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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Creating new habitats in intensively used farmland

Published source details

Brown V.K. & Gibson C.W.D. (1994) Creating new habitats in intensively used farmland. British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium, 28, 125-136


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 controlled, replicated trial from 1982 to 1993 on an abandoned ex-arable field at Oxford University Farm at Wytham, Oxfordshire, UK (Brown & Gibson 1994) found that 10 years after abandonment, heavily grazed treatments (particularly spring-and-autumn grazing, at 3-6 sheep/ha) more closely resembled target ancient chalk/limestone (calcicolous) communities than lightly grazed or ungrazed treatments. Over the experimental site, 250 plant species colonized, 77 of which were typical of chalk/limestone grassland. However, the species composition of the site differed markedly from that of nearby ancient chalk/limestone grassland (where later-successional and stress-tolerator species were more common), indicating that restoration may take decades. Arable cultivation was abandoned in 1982 and five grazing treatments began in 1985. Three treatments were replicated six times in 30 x 30 m paddocks (ungrazed control, short-period spring and short-period autumn grazing) and two treatments were applied in larger areas (spring-and-autumn grazing and long-period autumn grazing, not replicated). Plants were surveyed four times a year in 12 quadrats (1 m2) in each replicate and in nearby ancient grassland patches. This study was part of the same experimental set-up as (Gibson et al. 1987a, Gibson et al. 1987b, Watt & Gibson 1988).