Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effectiveness of old and new strategies for the long‐term control of Pteridium aquilinum, an 8‐year test

Published source details

Milligan G., Cox E., Alday J., Santana V., McAllister H., Pakeman R., Le D.M. & Marrs R. (2016) The effectiveness of old and new strategies for the long‐term control of Pteridium aquilinum, an 8‐year test. Weed Research, 56, 247-257


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

Use ‘bracken bruiser’ to control bracken Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled, before-and-after, paired study in 2005–2013 in a site dominated by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in the UK (Milligan et al. 2016) found that ‘bracken bruising’ increased bracken cover and had no effect on the number of plant species or plant diversity. In plots where a bracken bruiser  was used bracken cover increased over eight years (before: 23–24%, after: 64–74%) while in plots that where a bracken bruiser was not used bracken cover also increased (before: 24%, after: 75%). There was no significant difference in the number of plant species found in plots where a bracken bruiser ha d been used and those where it was not (no data presented). There was no significant difference in the plant diversity of plots where a bracken bruiser was used and those that where it was not (data presented as Shannon-Weiner index). In 2005-2012 a bracken bruiser was used twice a year in three 20 x 20 m plots and in three other plots no bracken bruiser was used. Plots were paired. In 2005–2013 plant cover was assessed by eye in five 1 m2 quadrats which were randomly located in each plot.

 

 

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Cut to control bracken Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled, before-and-after, paired study in 2005–2013 in a site dominated by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in the UK (Milligan et al. 2016) found that cutting decreased bracken cover, had no effect on the number of plant species, and increased plant diversity. In plots that were cut bracken cover declined over eight years (before: 26–27%, after: 2%) while in plots where bracken was not cut bracken cover increased (before: 24%, after 75%). There was no difference in the number of plant species found in plots that had been cut and those that were not cut. Over eight years in plots where bracken was cut plant diversity increased, while in uncut plots it declined (data presented as Shannon-Weiner index). In 2005–2012 three 20 x 20 m plots were cut twice a year, three plots were cut twice a year, and three plots were not cut. All plots were paired such that they were located next to the different treatments. In 2005–2013 plant cover was assessed by eye in five 1 m2 quadrats which were randomly located in each plot.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)

Use herbicide to control bracken Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

A randomized, replicated, controlled, before-and-after, paired study in 2005–2013 in a site dominated by bracken Pteridium aquilinum in the UK (Milligan et al. 2016) found that spraying with herbicide reduced bracken cover and had no effect on the number of plant species or plant diversity. In plots that were sprayed with herbicide bracken cover declined over eight years (before: 26%, after: 2%) while in unsprayed plots bracken cover increased (before: 24%, after 75%). Neither the number of plant species (no data presented) nor plant diversity (presented as Shannon-Weiner index) differed significantly between sprayed and unsprayed plots. In 2005 three 20 x 20 m plots were sprayed with the herbicide asulam and every emergent bracken frond was sprayed in 2006–2012. Three other plots were not sprayed. Plots were paired. In 2005–2013 plant cover was assessed by eye in five 1 m2 quadrats which were randomly located in each plot.

(Summarised by Phil Martin)