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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Restoration of bracken-invaded Calluna vulgaris heathlands: Effects on vegetation dynamics and non-target species

Published source details

Måren I.E., Vandvik V. & Ekelund K. (2008) Restoration of bracken-invaded Calluna vulgaris heathlands: Effects on vegetation dynamics and non-target species. Biological Conservation, 141, 1032-1042


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

Cut and apply herbicide to control bracken Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, controlled, before-and-after trial in 1997-2003 in a heathland invaded by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in Norway (Maren et al. 2008) found that annual cutting of bracken and application asulam herbicide increased the cover of heather Calluna vulgaris and reduced cover of bracken. After six years, heather cover in areas where bracken was cut and herbicide applied increased from 2–4% before cutting and application of herbicide to 13–47%, while in plots that were not cut or sprayed with herbicide heather cover remained at approximately 1%. In areas that were cut and treated with herbicide, bracken cover dropped from 75% before cutting and herbicide application to 1–3%, while in areas that were not cut or sprayed with herbicide, bracken cover remained above 75%. Twelve 25 m2 plots were randomly allocated to be either cut and receive herbicide applications of asulam or gratil or remain uncut with no herbicide application. In plots which were cut, bracken was annually cut 20–30 cm above the ground, in July. Three 0.25 m2 quadrats were placed in each plot and used to monitor vegetation cover annually.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Cut to control bracken Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, controlled, before-and-after trial in 1997-2001 in a heathland invaded by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in Norway (Maren et al. 2008) found that repeatedly cutting bracken increased the heather cover and reduced bracken cover. Cutting bracken increased heather cover from 3–5% before cutting to 14–26% four years after cutting started, while heather cover in uncut plots was approximately 1% for all four years of the experiment. Cutting reduced bracken cover from 75–76% before cutting to 2–17% four years after cutting started, while bracken cover in uncut plots remained above 75% during the four years of the experiment. Twelve 25 m2 plots were randomly allocated to be cut either once a year, twice a year or were left uncut. In plots which were cut bracken was cut to a length of 20–30 cm in July. Three 0.25 m2 quadrats were placed in each plot and used to monitor vegetation cover annually.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)