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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Can fire avoid massive and rapid habitat change in Italian heathlands?

Published source details

Borghesio L. (2014) Can fire avoid massive and rapid habitat change in Italian heathlands? Journal for Nature Conservation, 22, 68-74


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

Use cutting/mowing to mimic grazing Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A replicated, site comparison study in 1999–2012 in a dry heathland in Northern Italy (Borghesio 2014) found that mowed areas had higher heather and grass cover, but lower cover of other shrubs and trees compared to unmowed areas. After 12 years, cover of heather was higher in mowed plots (15%) than in unmowed plots (11%). Grass cover averaged 66% in mowed sites but declined from 49% to 23% in unmowed sites. Cover of other shrubs was lower in mown plots (11%) than unmown plots (26%). Tree cover averaged 8% in mowed sites but tree cover increased from 13% to 40% over 12 years in unmowed plots. Fifteen plots with a radius of 50 m were located in a heathland. Six of these plots were mowed every year and nine plots were never mowed. In late spring 1999–2012 plots were surveyed and the cover of plant species was estimated.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)