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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Short-term effects of cutting and low-level fertilizer addition on heather Calluna vulgaris and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix regeneration in the San Isidro, Tarna and Vegarada mountains, Castilla Y Leon, northwest Spain

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 intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Use cutting/mowing to mimic grazing Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

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)