Semi-natural grasslands: the effects of cutting frequency on long-term changes of floristic composition

  • Published source details Kramberger B. & Kaligaric M. (2008) Semi-natural grasslands: the effects of cutting frequency on long-term changes of floristic composition. Polish Journal of Ecology, 56, 33-43.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

Action Link
Farmland Conservation
  1. Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland

    A randomized, replicated trial in 1995-2006 at a semi-natural grassland site near Maribor, Slovenia (Kramberger & Kaligaric 2008) found that occasional late cutting may allow farmers to maintain a stable grass yield, without stimulating the spread of broadleaved plants (forbs). The study applied different cutting frequencies (at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 week intervals) on semi-natural grassland between 1995 and 2006, and measured the effect on the dry matter proportions of grasses, legumes and non-legume broadleaved plants in May 1995, 1999, 2002 and 2006. There were four replicates. In the final year (2006), the treatment with the least frequent cuts resulted in the highest proportion of grasses (77%) and lowest proportion of non-legume broadleaved plants (19%) in the dry matter of harvest. Although the digestibility of forage produced by infrequent cutting does not meet the needs of modern livestock production, occasional very late cuts could offer a compromise between maintaining grassland biodiversity, while allowing farmers to maintain a stable grass yield.


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