Study

Rehabilitation of degraded Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull-dominated wet heath by controlled sheep grazing

  • Published source details Hulme P.D., Merrell B.G., Torvell L., Fisher J.M., Small J.L. & Pakeman R.J. (2002) Rehabilitation of degraded Calluna vulgaris (L.) Hull-dominated wet heath by controlled sheep grazing. Biological Conservation, 107, 351-363

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Shorten the period during which livestock can graze

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Reduce number of livestock

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Shorten the period during which livestock can graze

    A replicated, randomized, controlled study in 1989–1995 in wet heathland in Northumberland, UK (Hulme et al. 2002) found that after six years only allowing grazing in winter or summer there was little difference in heather Calluna vulgaris height compared to areas exposed to year-round grazing. Heather height did not significantly differ in plots where grazing was only allowed in winter (38 cm), plots where grazing was only allowed in summer (38 cm), and plots where grazing was allowed year round (38 cm). The same was true for grass height (winter only: 37 cm; summer only: 33 cm; year-round: 31 cm). Four blocks, each composed of three 0.3 plots were fenced in 1989. Within each block one plot was grazed only in winter, one only in summer, and one year round. All plots had a density of 0.7 sheep/ha. Vegetation height was measured twice a year between 1989 and 1995 at 40 random locations using a sward stick.

  2. Reduce number of livestock

    A replicated, randomized, controlled trial between 1989 and 1995 in wet heathland in Northumberland, UK (Hulme et al. 2002) found that reducing the number of sheep increased vegetation height after six years. Vegetation was taller in plots where grazing was light (37 cm) or moderate (37 cm) when compared to heavily grazed areas (12 cm). Heather Calluna vulgaris shoots were also longer in areas where grazing was reduced (63 cm) than in areas that were heavily grazed (44 cm). Four blocks, each composed of two 0.3 plots, were fenced in 1989. Within each block one plot had a density of 0.7 sheep/ha, and one plot had 1.4 sheep/ha. Nearby grazed heath with 2.1 sheep/ha was used for comparisons. Vegetation height was measured twice a year between 1989 and 1995 at 40 random locations in each plot using a sward stick.

Output references

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, terrestrial 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 17

Go to the CE Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet some of the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust