Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Grazing, July hay cut and seed addition provide the best plant diversity in restoring an upland meadow, Colt Park Meadows, Ingleborough National Nature Reserve, North Yorkshire, England

Published source details

Smith R.S., Shiel R.S., Millward D. & (2000) The interactive effects of management on the productivity and plant community structure of an upland meadow: an 8-year field trial. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37, 1029-1043


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 replicated trial from 1990 to 1998 of combined management treatments on an agriculturally-improved meadow in the Pennine Dales Environmentally Sensitive Area, North Yorkshire, England (Smith et al. 2000) (same study as (Smith et al. 2002)) found that the highest increase in plant species diversity was achieved with a combination of autumn and spring grazing, 21 July hay cut date and sowing native plant species. The study took place in 6 x 6 m plots on a 2.75 ha meadow within the Ingleborough National Nature Reserve. Plots were either sown with many native grassland species (including yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor) or not. The experiment also included three different grazing treatments (sheep and cattle), plots with or without fertilizer and three earliest dates for hay cut. Yellow rattle spread to most plots after its introduction as a constituent of the seed addition treatment. By 1996 it was particularly abundant in treatment combinations that included autumn grazing, no mineral fertilizer and a July hay cut. Populations of over 40 plants/m² were associated lowest hay yields, presumably as it suppressed grass growth.