Study

Is there a benefit of excluding sheep from pastures at flowering peak on flower-visiting insect diversity?

  • Published source details Scohier A., Ouin A., Farruggia A. & Dumont B. (2013) Is there a benefit of excluding sheep from pastures at flowering peak on flower-visiting insect diversity?. Journal of Insect Conservation, 17, 287-294.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Use rotational grazing

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation

Reduce grazing intensity on grassland by seasonal removal of livestock

Action Link
Butterfly and Moth Conservation
  1. Use rotational grazing

    A replicated, controlled study in 2009–2010 in two semi-natural grasslands in central France (Scohier et al. 2013) found that rotationally grazed plots had a similar abundance and species richness of butterflies and burnet moths to continuously grazed plots. In rotationally grazed plots, the abundance (15 individuals/plot) and species richness (7 species/plot) of butterflies and burnet moths was not significantly different from in continuously grazed plots (abundance: 15 individuals/plot; richness: 8 species/plot). Two grasslands were studied: one which had been extensively managed for 40 years, and one which had been fertilized and grazed at a higher stocking density. From 15 May–30 September 2009–2010, four 5,500-m2 plots/grassland were grazed by five (extensive management history) or seven (intensive management history) 3-year-old ewes/plot. Two plots/grassland were divided into four and sheep were grazed on rotation, spending seven days/sub-plot before moving on. One sub-plot was excluded from the rotation from 26 May–14 July during peak flowering. The other two plots/grassland were grazed continuously. From June–July 2009–2010, butterflies and burnet moths were surveyed four times on one 30-m transect/sub-plot in the rotationally grazed plots, and three 30-m transects in each continuously grazed plot.

    (Summarised by: Andew Bladon)

  2. Reduce grazing intensity on grassland by seasonal removal of livestock

    A replicated, paired, controlled study in 2009–2010 in two semi-natural grasslands in central France (Scohier et al. 2013) found that plots which were not grazed during the peak flowering period had a similar number of butterflies and burnet moths to rotationally grazed plots. In plots where sheep were excluded in summer, the abundance of butterflies and burnet moths (17 individuals/plot) was not significantly different from in rotationally grazed plots (10 individuals/plot). Two grasslands were studied: one which had been extensively managed for 40 years, and one which had been fertilized and grazed at a higher stocking density. From 15 May–30 September 2009–2010, two 5,500-m2 patches/grassland were grazed by five (extensive management history) or seven (intensive management history) 3-year-old ewes/patch. The patches were divided into four plots and sheep were grazed on rotation, spending seven days/plot before moving on. One plot was excluded from the rotation from 26 May–14 July during peak flowering. From June–July 2009–2010, butterflies and burnet moths were surveyed four times on one 30-m transect/plot.

    (Summarised by: Andrew Bladon)

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