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To evaluate effects of management regimes on plant (including heather) and animal communities in uplands - BD0101

Nationally, between 1947 and 1984, the estimated reduction in heather cover amounts to 20%. Increase in stock numbers maintained on hill land have contributed to this figure, but tree planting, reseeding and cropping and encroachment by bracken and other species are also responsible.

Agricultural over supply, requirement for increased public access, and most importantly damage to the environment by current farming practices require that more sensitive or less intensive systems be used to bring the farm and the environmental needs in balance.

The need for Hill Farmers to manage their holdings with more sympathetic consideration for the environment require the development of systems of hill pasture management which will allow efficient use of indigenous vegetation by grazing animals, but which are compatible with conservation, preserving the structure and dynamics of the plant and invertebrate communities.

(New code BD0106)
To measure the effects, over a ten year period, on the
indigenous plants and invertebrates of restricting the
access of sheep to hill pasture at strategic periods during
the year and manipulating the overall stocking density.

To establish the stocking level which will allow heather and
other non-graminaceous species to regenerate and/or
maintain their status in a hill pasture, and develop
guidelines for hill farmers.

To compare sheep outputs/inputs and production levels under
different stocking densities.

To make a comprehensive financial analysis of the agronomic
data based on livestock output and values to assess
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1991

To: 1995

Cost: £1,741,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship