A comparison of plant regeneration dynamics following gap creation at two geographically contrasting heaths, Cavenham Heath (Suffolk) and Thurston Common (Merseyside), England

  • Published source details Britton A.J., Carey P.D., Pakeman R.J. & Marrs R.H. (2000) A comparison of regeneration dynamics following gap creation at two geographically contrasting heathland sites. Journal of Applied Ecology, 37


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Strip turf to control grass

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Allow shrubland to regenerate without active management

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Strip turf to control grass

    A replicated, controlled study in 1996–1998 in a heathland invaded by wavy hair-grass Deschampsia flexuosa in Breckland, UK (Britton et al. 2000) found that cutting turf did not decrease the presence of wavy-hair grass or increase the presence of heather Calluna vulgaris compared to mowing or rotovating. After two years, wavy hair-grass presence in plots where turf had been cut (98%) was not significantly different to presence in mown (100%) or rotovated plots (99%). After two years, heather presence did not differ significantly between plots where turf was cut (24%) and those that had been rotovated (10%) or mown (5%). In August 1996 in five 4 m2 areas turf and soil were removed to a depth of 10 cm, a number of 0.5 ha areas were rotovated, and grass was cut to a height of 10 cm or less in a number of 1–2 ha blocks. Five 4 m2 plots were established in each of the areas subject to different interventions. Each plot was divided into a grid of 20 cm x 20 cm squares and presence of species was recorded in each square twice a year in 1996–1998.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

  2. Allow shrubland to regenerate without active management

    A replicated, before-and-after trial in 1996–1998 in two heathlands in the UK (Britton et al. 2000) found that allowing shrubland to recover from disturbance without any active restoration increased cover of heather Calluna vulgaris in two of two sites, but increased cover of wavy-hair grass Deschampsia flexuosa in one of two sites. After two years of recovery, heather cover increased from 0% to 21–85% in both sites. However, at one site, the cover of wavy-hair grass increased from 0% to 8%, while at the other site wavy-hair grass cover was 0% before recovery and 0% after two years of recovery. All vegetation in randomly placed plots of 1 m2, 0.25 m2, and 0.0625 m2 was removed and the top 15 cm of soil broken up with a spade. Vegetation cover in each plot was recorded in April and October of each year in 1996–1998.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

Output references

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