From over-grazing to under-grazing: are we going from one extreme to another?

  • Published source details Holland J.P., Pollock M.L. & Waterhouse A. (2008) From over-grazing to under-grazing: are we going from one extreme to another?. Aspects of Applied Biology, 85, 25-30.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland)

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Exclude livestock from semi-natural habitat (including woodland)

    A series of trials at four upland grassland or heath sites in west Perthshire, Scotland (Holland et al. 2008) showed that excluding sheep caused changes in vegetation and the decline of scarce plant species at two of the sites. Livestock were excluded from three areas of upland grassland and one area of heath in 1998, 2000 or 2001. Vegetation was monitored in one to five years following exclusion. At one chalk grassland site, the species of conservation value: creeping sibbaldia Sibbaldia procumbens, moss campion Silene acaulis and hair sedge Carex capillaris all declined. At the heath site, a population of the small white orchid Pseudorchis albida crashed from 50 spikes in 2001 to none in 2006, after grazing exclusion in 2000. At the two other grassland sites, species composition was not monitored, but the vegetation structure changed, with increased overall height and at one site, less vegetation below 8 cm.

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