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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: The effect of length of burning rotation on vegetation community composition and heather Calluna vulgaris growth in Calluna-Eriophorum bog, Moor House National Nature Reserve, Cumbria, northern England

Published source details

Hobbs R.J. (1984) Length of burning rotation and community composition in high-level Calluna-Eriophorum bog in N England. Vegetatio (now Plant Ecology), 129-136

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

Use prescribed fire to control problematic plants Peatland Conservation

A replicated, paired study in 1954–1980 in a blanket bog in England, UK (Hobbs 1984) reported that burned plots became dominated by cottongrasses Eriophorum spp. within 3–5 years, and that burning more often reduced cover of heather Calluna vulgaris but typically increased moss and liverwort cover. These results were not tested for statistical significance. All plots were burned in 1954 and 1975. In 1978–1980, the plots were dominated by cottongrass (sheathed cottongrass Eriophorum vaginatum cover: 46–84%; common cottongrass Eriophorum angustifolium cover: 3–28%). Half of the plots were also burned in 1965. In 1978–1980, these plots had less cover of heather (shoots: 6–26%; stems: 2–17%) than plots that were not burned in 1965 (shoots: 22–70%; stems: 17–59%). The more frequently burned plots also had greater moss cover (Sphagnum in 5 of 6 comparisons; other mosses in 14 of 18 comparisons) and liverwort cover (in 22 of 33 comparisons) but similar cottongrass cover. In 1954, four pairs of 1,000 m2 plots were established on a grazed bog. All plots were burned in 1954 and 1975. Four plots (one plot/pair) were also burned in 1965. Vegetation cover was estimated in August 1978–1980, in 128 quadrats/plot, (each 10 x 10 cm and arranged along a transect). This study was based on the same experimental set-up as (1), (4) and (6).

(Summarised by Nigel Taylor)