Short-term study of effects of fertilisation and cutting treatments on the vegetation dynamics of mountain heathlands

  • Published source details Calvo L., Alonso I., Frenandez A.J. & De Luis E. (2005) Short-term study of effects of fertilisation and cutting treatments on the vegetation dynamics of mountain heathlands. Plant Ecology, 179, 181-191.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use cutting/mowing to mimic grazing

Action Link
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
  1. Use cutting/mowing to mimic grazing

    A replicated, randomized, controlled, before-and-after trial in 1998–2003 in three heathlands in Northern Spain (Calvo et al. 2005) found that cutting heather Calluna vulgaris to mimic livestock grazing increased the number of plant species in one of three cases but reduced the cover of heather in three of three cases after two years. In one of three cases, the number of plant species in areas that had been cut was higher two years after cutting (9 species/plot) than before cutting (7 species/plot) and the number of species was higher after cutting than in areas that had not been cut (5 species/plot). Data on the number of plant species was not reported for two of the three heathland sites. In the three heathlands cover of heather after cutting (5–11%) was lower than before cutting (55–83%) and cover after cutting was also lower than in areas that had not been cut (76–83%). In 1998 in each site all heather plants were cut in five randomly selected plots, while the other five plots heather plants were not cut. Vegetation cover was assessed in each plot before cutting and then in 1999–2000.

    (Summarised by: Phil Martin)

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