Recreating biodiverse grasslands: long-term evaluation of practical management options for farmers

  • Published source details Hayes M.J. & Tallowin J.R.B. (2007) Recreating biodiverse grasslands: long-term evaluation of practical management options for farmers. Pages 135-140 in: J.R.B. Tallowin, S. Peel, D.I. McCracken, A.J. Duncan & J.J. Hopkins (eds.) High value grassland: Providing biodiversity, a clean environment and premium products. British Grassland Society Occasional Symposium No.38. British Grassland Society (BGS), Reading.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Restore/create species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A randomized, replicated, controlled trial at two experimental farms in Wales, UK (Hayes & Tallowin 2007) (results from the two farms are presented in (Jones & Hayes 1999) and (Morgan et al. 2008)) found that plant species richness on grasslands increased over 10-13 years in response to imposing traditional management practices, providing the management involved both hay cutting and aftermath (autumn-winter) grazing. In the final year, these sites had over 13 plant species/quadrat (over 15 at the upland site) and over 40 plant species on each plot (over 50 at the upland site), compared to 8-9 species/quadrat and 24 species/plot in control plots. They were colonized by desirable plant species, such as yellow rattle Rhinanthus minor and heath spotted orchid Dactylorhiza maculata. Plots managed with just hay cutting, or just grazing, did not show strong increases in plant species richness. The experiments took place in Ceredigion (lowland) from 1992 to 2005 and the Cambrian Mountains (upland fringe) from 1995 to 2005. Six or seven treatments were each replicated three times on 0.15 ha plots. The control plot was species poor pasture sheep-grazed from April to November, fertilized (with nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium NPK fertilizer) at a rate of 150 kg nitrogen/ha, and limed once, in the second or third experimental year. Other plots were not fertilized at all, but had various combinations of cutting, grazing and liming. Adding lime slightly enhanced plant species richness in summer grazed treatments at the upland site. Plants were monitored in summers of 1992-1997 and 2000, 2003 and 2005 in ten quadrats in each plot.


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