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Open Competition: The interaction between grazing management and upland vegetation (CTE9510) - BD0109

This study will determine the relationship between suppression of heather and the extent to which it is utilised for grazing, so that thresholds of grazing tolerance may be established for heathers of different ages and locations (i.e. latitude, altitude and local soil and climate conditions). The project will involve a sampling procedure, whereby 6 sites will be identified, covering a range of locations (SW England, Wales, North and South Pennines, North Yorkshire Moors and Cumbria), types of heather (pioneer, building and mature) and utilisation rates by sheep. Effects of different levels of heather utilisation on subsequent reduction of productivity structure and cover of heather plants will be examined by comparison of grazed and ungrazed areas of heather in relation to location, heather growth types, soil and climatic conditions. Differences in productivity between these 2 areas will be assessed in terms of biomass production, and the possibility of using surrogate techniques (e.g. total length of leading shoot, long shoot:side shoot ratio, and numbers of leading shoots with flowers) to measure reduction in heather productivity during grazing will also be studied. Clipping experiments with all ages of heather will evaluate the impact of season (i.e. summer or winter) of utilisation on subsequent loss of productivity in heather, as well as allowing comparison of the effects of different levels of heather utilisation achieved by grazing and clipping on heather productivity. Finally, a model will be developed to predict suppression of heather caused by long term grazing, derived from reductions in productivity, and to provide threshold levels of utilisation likely to cause suppression in a range of environments.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1995

To: 1998

Cost: £210,700
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Macaulay Land Use Research Institute, ADAS UK Ltd.
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship