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Heather utilisation at Dartmoor ESA prescribed stocking rates - BD0804

Stocking rates for sheep on commons in the Dartmoor ESA have been prescribed on the basis of experience gained in UK upland sites; however, these stocking rates have been questioned by Dartmoor commoners, who feel that the climate in the south-west shold permit higher grazing levels. One of the important heathland communities likely to benefit from an appropriate grazing level is western heath (NVC H4), rather then upland habitats dominated by heather (Calluna vulgaris). This study will aim to conduct a one-off survey of heather utilization and western heath quality at Willsworthy MoD range, which has been managed according to ESA prescription, despite being ineligible for ESA agreement. This site therefore offers a unique opportunity to gauge the effects of the ESA prescribed sheep stocking rate on heather utilization and quality of western heath-type habitat. ADAS-developed methodology will be used on the Willsworthy MoD site to relate heather utilization and suppression to heathland community type and stocking levels during the last growing season. Results should provide essential support to the Conservation Management Division for the retention, or revision, of the ESA grazing level for moorland with respect to the Dartmoor ESA.
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1996

To: 1996

Cost: £12,380
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship