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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effects of grass seeding of heathland on nest distribution of whimbrel Numenius phaeopus on the islands of Fetlar and Unst, Shetland, Scotland

Published source details

Grant M.C. (1992) The effects of re-seeding heathland on breeding whimbrel Numenius phaeopus in Shetland. I. Nest distributions. Journal of Applied Ecology, 29, 501-508


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Employ areas of semi-natural habitat for rough grazing (includes salt marsh, lowland heath, bog, fen) Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study in the Shetland Islands, Scotland (Grant 1992) found that areas of heath seeded with grass to improve them for livestock grazing were mostly avoided by nesting whimbrels Numenius phaeopus in favour of unimproved heathland. In 1986 and 1987, this study monitored whimbrels in five areas of heathland that had been partly seeded, four on the island of Fetlar, one on Unst. Eighty-nine percent (111 nests) of the nests were found in unseeded heathland. Most nests were on hummocks and amongst heather. Seeding with grass after ploughing or harrowing resulted in the loss of hummocks and most heather Calluna vulgaris, and created a predominantly grassy habitat. Surface-seeding, without ploughing or harrowing, created less marked changes, with hummocks and heather retained, although hummock height was lowered, and in some areas only dead or dying heather was present.

 

Plough habitats Bird Conservation

A site comparison study in the Shetland Islands, Scotland (Grant 1992) found that areas of heath seeded with grass to improve them for livestock grazing were mostly avoided by nesting whimbrels Numenius phaeopus in favour of unimproved heathland. In 1986 and 1987, this study monitored whimbrels in five areas of heathland that had been partly seeded, four on the island of Fetlar, one on Unst. Of 111 nests, 89% were found in unseeded heathland. Most nests were on hummocks and amongst heather Calluna vulgaris. Seeding with grass after ploughing or harrowing resulted in the loss of hummocks and most heather, and created a predominantly grassy habitat.  Surface-seeding, without ploughing or harrowing, created less marked changes, with hummocks and heather retained, although hummock height was lowered, and in some areas only dead or dying heather was present.