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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: A field assessment of the role of selective herbicides in the restoration of British moorland dominated by Molinia

Published source details

Milligan A.L., Putwain P.D. & Marrs R.H. (2003) A field assessment of the role of selective herbicides in the restoration of British moorland dominated by Molinia. Biological Conservation, 109, 369-379


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

Use herbicide to control grass Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled study in 1996–1999 in moorland in the UK (Milligan et al. 2003) found that herbicide application to control grass initially reduced cover of purple moor grass Molinia caerulea and had no effect on cover of wavy-hair grass Deschampsia flexuosa, heath bedstraw Galium saxatile, and heath rush Juncus squarosus. After one year, cover of purple moor grass was lower in plots that had been sprayed with herbicide (29–45%) than in unsprayed plots (59%). After four years and in one of five comparisons, cover of purple moor grass was lower in plots sprayed with herbicide (35%) than in unsprayed plots (54%), but in four of five comparisons there was no difference in cover of purple moor grass (herbicide: 48-53%, no herbicide: 54%). The cover of wavy-hair grass, heath bedstraw, and heath rush did not differ significantly between plots sprayed with herbicide and unsprayed plots. Three blocks were established at the site, and divided into 12 plots, 11 of which were sprayed with different herbicides and one of which was left unsprayed. Cover of plant species was estimated using 1 m2 quadrats in August 1996, August 1997, and July 1999.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)