The responses of blanket bog vegetation to controlled grazing by hill sheep

  • Published source details Grant S.A., Bolton G.R. & Torvell L. (1985) The responses of blanket bog vegetation to controlled grazing by hill sheep. Journal of Applied Ecology, 22, 739-751.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reduce intensity of livestock grazing

Action Link
Peatland Conservation
  1. Reduce intensity of livestock grazing

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 1971–1982 in three recently burned blanket bogs in Scotland, UK (Grant et al. 1985) found that plots under lower grazing intensities had greater vegetation biomass and cover than more heavily grazed plots. After six years, vascular plant above-ground biomass was greater in lightly/moderately grazed plots (550–557 g/m2) than in heavily grazed plots (346 g/m2). After 11 years, the lightly/moderately grazed plots also had greater total vegetation cover (light: 81%; moderate: 69%; heavy: 48%), shrub cover (light: 13–53%; moderate: 9–38%; heavy: 8–26%) and sheathed cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum cover (light: 15%; moderate: 11%; heavy: 6%). Cover of common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium was similar under all grazing intensities (data not reported). From August 1971, one 0.1 ha plot/bog was grazed under each intensity: light (136–237 sheep grazing days/ha/yr), moderate (296–494) or heavy (484–810). Between 1971 and 1980, dry above-ground biomass was measured in ten quadrats (approximately 25 x 50 cm) per plot. In 1972 and 1982, vegetation cover was measured in 20 point quadrats/plot.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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