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Individual study: Developing an integrated land management strategy for the restoration of moorland vegetation on Molinia caerulea-dominated vegetation for conservation purposes in upland Britain

Published source details

Milligan A., Putwain P., Cox E., Ghorbani J., Le D.M. & Marrs R. (2004) Developing an integrated land management strategy for the restoration of moorland vegetation on Molinia caerulea-dominated vegetation for conservation purposes in upland Britain. Biological Conservation, 119, 371-385


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

Cut/mow to control grass Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 1995–1999 at a moorland site in the UK (Milligan et al. 2004) found that cutting to control purple moor grass Molinia caerulea initially reduced vegetation height, had mixed effects on the number of plant species and cover of purple moor grass, and had no effect on the cover of common heather Calluna vulgaris. After eight months and in three of three cases, areas that were cut had shorter vegetation (8-21 cm) than areas that were not cut (26 cm), but after 44 months vegetation was only shorter in one of three cases (cut: 17 cm, uncut: 31 cm). After eight months and in one of three cases, cut areas had lower purple moor grass cover than areas that were not cut and after 44 months areas that were cut showed no significant difference in cover of purple moor grass when compared to uncut areas (no data presented). After 44 months in one of three cases areas that were cut contained more plant species (9 species) than areas that were not cut (6 species). The cover of common heather did not differ significantly between areas that were cut and those that were not. In December 1995 two blocks were established at the site. Each block was divided into four plots, one of which was cut once, one of which was cut twice, one of which was cut three times, and one of which was left uncut. In June–August of 1996–1999 the plant species cover and vegetation height were surveyed using forty-eight 1 m2 quadrats placed in each plot.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Use herbicide to control grass Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 1995-1999 at a moorland site in the UK (Milligan et al. 2005) found that applying herbicide to control purple moor grass Molinia caerulea had a mixed effect on vegetation height, and did not significantly alter the number of plant species, cover purple moor grass, or cover of common heather Calluna vulgaris. In one of four comparisons areas where herbicide had been applied had shorter vegetation (15 cm) than areas where herbicide was not applied (19 cm), in three of four cases there was no significant difference in vegetation height. There was no significant difference in the cover of purple moor grass or common heather, or the number of plant species in areas where herbicide was applied and areas where herbicide was not applied (no data presented). In December 1995 two blocks were established at the site. Each block was divided into four plots, one of which was cut once, one of which was cut twice, one of which was cut three times, and one of which was left uncut. In a sub-plot within each plot the herbicide quizalofop-ethyl was applied. In June–August of 1996–1999 the plant species cover and vegetation height were surveyed using forty-eight 1 m2 quadrats placed in each plot.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)