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Study on the impact of sheep grazing on bilberry moorland (continuation of BD0102) - BD0110

In the UK, bilberry moorland is a scarce vegetation type, although little is known regarding those factors that maintain it or bring about its development. In addition, effects of livestock grazing on bilberry, and its inter-relationships with other types of moorland vegetation are poorly understood, while herbivore densities that maintain or deplete bilberry stands have not yet been quantified. This study sought to examine effects of sheep grazing on bilberry moorland located in the Peak District. Normal patterns of grazing experienced by bilberry in the Peak District will be examined and effects of year-round summer and winter grazing on bilberry growth will be studied. Hypotheses will be established for bilberry decline in the Ashop Valley experimental sites in the North Peak ESA. Moreover, levels of shoot utilisation by sheep in bilberry and heather will be recorded, in relation to implications for tolerance levels of sheep utilisation that form the basis of present ESA policies on sheep stocking rates. Finally, estimates of tolerable sheep densities will be provided that allow conservation of existing bilberry stands.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Study on the impact of sheep grazing on bilberry moorland   (94k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1996

To: 1997

Cost: £4,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment Research Council
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship