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Grazing and mowing as management tools on dunes

  • Part 5 Studies on Conservation and Management of Coastal Vegetation
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A brief review of mowing and grazing of sand dune vegetation introduces the first results of the use of these management techniques at Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve, Anglesey, north Wales. In the mowing experiments, plots are mown one (May), twice (May and July), three times (May, July and September) and five times (May, June, July, August and September).

The grazing experiment has the equivalent of one or two animals to three-quarter acre paddocks (0.3 ha) which are grazed for one third, two thirds or for the whole year.

Mean numbers of species per plot, and Lotus corniculatus have increased in both sets of experiments whereas Arrhenatherum elatius has declined. Other species do not show clear-cut changes. Both methods provide practical means of maintaining a short turf, but the long-term effects of mowing may not be beneficial to the vascular plant flora. Grazing can however provide a crop as well as a desirable flora although manpower and capital costs may limit its use by conservationists.

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Nomenclature follows Clapham, A. R., Tutin, T. F. & Warburg, E. G. (1962), Flora of the British Isles, 2nd ed. Cambridge University Press, London.

A large grazing experiment can not proceed without the help and advice of many people. The Nature Conservancy Council has allowed the establishment of the grazing and mowing experiments at Newborough Warren National Nature Reserve. The staff of the North Wales region of NCC have encouraged and aided the work in many ways. Mr W. D. Martin, Mr R. A. Bennett, Mr L. C. Colley and the Estate Workers merit special thanks. Dr J. Hodgson, late of the Grasslands Research Institute, now with the Hill Farming Research Organisation and Mr P. Rothery (ITE) gave useful, practical and statistical advice at the planning stages of the grazing experiment. Mr R. J. C. MacMullen assisted with the field survey in 1982 and preparation of the data for computer analysis. Dr D. Moss (ITE) has provided statistical advice and computations. Professor F. T. Last and Dr C. Milner, my senior officers in ITE, have been especially helpful with advice and encouragement.

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Hewett, D.G. Grazing and mowing as management tools on dunes. Vegetatio 62, 441–447 (1985).

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