The effects of livestock grazing on foliar arthropods associated with bird diet in upland grasslands of Scotland

  • Published source details Dennis P., Skartveit J., McCracken D.I., Pakeman R.J., Beaton K., Kunaver A. & Evans D.M. (2008) The effects of livestock grazing on foliar arthropods associated with bird diet in upland grasslands of Scotland. Journal of Applied Ecology, 45, 279-287.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain upland heath/moorland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Maintain upland heath/moorland

    A randomized, replicated, controlled trial in 2002-2005 on an upland grassland site in Perthshire, Scotland, UK (Dennis et al. 2008) found that after 18 months of grazing, the biomass of arthropods associated with the bird diet was nearly twice as high on ungrazed/lightly grazed plots (sheep and cattle) than on plots grazed at a commercial stocking rate (sheep). The study also found more spiders (Araneae), true bugs (Hemiptera), beetles (Coleoptera) and caterpillars (Lepidoptera) in ungrazed or lightly grazed plots than in intensively grazed plots, but there was no straightforward relationship between grazing intensity and the number of cranefly (Tipulidae) adults and brachyceran flies (Brachycera). From January 2003, three grazing regimes (sheep at 2.7 ewes/ha, sheep at 0.9 ewes/ha, sheep and cattle equivalent to 0.9 ewes/ha) and an ungrazed control were replicated six times in 3.3 ha plots (in three pairs of adjacent blocks). Arthropods were sampled by suction sampler in spring/summer 2002-2005 (spiders, true bugs, beetles and brachyceran flies) and by sweep net in 2003-2005 (moth caterpillars and cranefly larvae, and cranefly adults in 2005).


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