Acidifying peat as an aid to the reconstruction of lowland heath on arable soil: a field experiment

  • Published source details Dunsford S.J., Free A.J. & Davy A.J. (1998) Acidifying peat as an aid to the reconstruction of lowland heath on arable soil: a field experiment. Journal of Applied Ecology, 35.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Add peat to soil (alongside planting/seeding)

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Add peat to soil (alongside planting/seeding)

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1992–1997 in an agricultural field that was previously heathland in Suffolk, UK (Dunsford et al. 1998) found that in two of three cases adding peat to soil, followed by sowing of seed of shrubland plants increased cover of common heather Calluna vulgaris compared to seeding alone. In two of three cases common heather cover was higher in areas where peat was added to soil and seed sown (40–49%) than areas where only seed was sown (8%). In 1992 peat was added to 18 randomly located 4 m x 8 m plots and seeds were sown, while only seeds were sown in 6 other plots. Thirty-two 1 m2 quadrats placed in each plot which were used to record the cover of common heather in August 1994 and September 1997.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

Output references
What Works 2021 cover

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
The Conservation Evidence Journal

The Conservation Evidence Journal

An online, free to publish in, open-access journal publishing results from research and projects that test the effectiveness of conservation actions.

Read the latest volume: Volume 21

Go to the CE Journal

Discover more on our blog

Our blog contains the latest news and updates from the Conservation Evidence team, the Conservation Evidence Journal, and our global partners in evidence-based conservation.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape ProgrammeRed List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Mauritian Wildlife Supporting Conservation Leaders
Sustainability Dashboard National Biodiversity Network Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Bat Conservation InternationalPeople trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust