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Extension to project BD0109: Suppression of heather by grazing (old BD0125) - BD1215

The existing experiment BD0109 was set up to derive a more complete picture of the relationship between sheep grazing intensity and suppression of heather than has hitherto been available, including the effects of geographical location and a number of environmental variables. Differential growth of heather has been measured on areas grazed at a range of intensities compared with plots where grazing was prevented by fencing, at sites distributed within five upland regions in England and Wales. Data have been collected in two consecutive years, allowing measurement both of the effects of grazing on growth within the following season in each of two years 1996 and 1997 (¡§one year¡¨ effects), and of any delayed response after a further year after release from grazing, i.e. a one-year lag. Results so far have been inconclusive in terms of the overall relationship between grazing intensity and subsequent heather growth, but have suggested both that a delayed response could be expected and that further data are required to establish significant relationships. A further year¡¦s extension is proposed, using a modified approach which will greatly enhance the scope of the work by: i) adding a third year of ¡§one year¡¨ results; ii) measuring the effects of a two-year lag in response; iii) allowing a second one-year lag in response to be measured; and iv) measuring the effects of three years of known grazing levels compared with no grazing over the same period.
The objectives of the proposed extension are:

To allow the satisfactory achievement and enhancement of the following objectives of the current project BD0109:

To assess the effects of different levels of heather utilisation on subsequent productivity, structure and cover of heather plants.
To quantify the effects of location, heather growth stage, soil and climatic conditions on the relationship between utilisation and subsequent productivity.
To compare the different levels of utilisation achieved by grazing and clipping.
To develop a computer model to predict the effects of long-term patterns of utilisation on the suppression of heather.

Enhancement of objectives 1.1-1.4 above will be achieved by adding to and increasing the scope of the data collected. This will also allow the addition of a further specific objective:

2. To quantify the magnitude and extent of delayed effects of grazing at different intensities on subsequent heather growth.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Extension to project BD0109: Suppression of heather by grazing   (596k)
• Final Report - Annex : Extension to project BD0109: Suppression of heather by grazing   (856k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 1999

Cost: £58,147
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship