Study

The effects of livestock grazing intensities on field vole Microtus agrestis abundance at Glen Finglas, Stirling, Scotland

  • Published source details Evans D.M., Redpath S.M., Elston D.A., Evans S.A., Mitchell R.J. & Dennis P. (2006) To graze or not to graze? Sheep, voles, forestry and nature conservation in the British uplands. Journal of Applied Ecology, 43, 499-505

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Change type of livestock

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation

Reduce intensity of grazing by domestic livestock

Action Link
Terrestrial Mammal Conservation
  1. Change type of livestock

    A replicated, randomized, paired sites, controlled, before-and-after study in 2002–2004 on an upland grassland site in Scotland, UK (Evans et al. 2006) found that, after two years, grazing with sheep and cattle increased field vole Microtus agrestis abundance relative to sheep-only grazing. In the first year of the experiment, a similar proportion of quadrats had signs of voles in sheep and cattle plots (11%) and sheep only plots (12%). In the second year, the proportion with vole signs was higher in sheep and cattle (16%) than sheep only plots (11%). Before the experiment began, there was no difference in the frequency of vole signs between plots. Plots were grazed similarly up to 2002 (rate not stated). From 2003, there were six replicates (each 3.3 ha) of sheep and cattle grazing (two ewes/plot and, for four weeks/year, two cattle each with a suckling calf) and sheep only grazing (three ewes/plot). Treatments were designed to have similar overall grazing intensity. Five 25 cm × 25 cm quadrats at each of five points in each plot were searched for vole signs in April and October of 2002–2004.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

  2. Reduce intensity of grazing by domestic livestock

    A replicated, randomized, paired sites, controlled, before-and-after study in 2002–2004 on upland grassland in Scotland, UK (Evans et al. 2006) found that reducing sheep grazing intensity increased the abundance of field voles Microtus agrestis. In the first year of grazing treatments, the percentage of quadrats with vole signs was higher in ungrazed plots (20%), intermediate in lightly grazed plots (12%) and lowest in heavily grazed plots (4%). The same pattern held in the second year of treatments (ungrazed: 24%; lightly grazed: 11%; heavily grazed: 7%). Before grazing treatments were implemented, there was no significant difference in the frequency of vole signs between plots. Plots were all grazed similarly (stocking rate not stated) up to 2002. From spring 2003, there were six replicates (3.3 ha each) of no livestock grazing, light grazing (three ewes/plot) and heavy grazing (nine ewes/plot). Five 25 × 25-cm quadrats at each of five points/plot were searched for vole signs in April and October 2002–2004.

    (Summarised by: Nick Littlewood)

Output references

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