Cut trees and remove leaf litter

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
  • Certainty
  • Harms

Source countries

Key messages

  • One before-and-after trial in the Netherlands found that cutting trees and removing the litter layer increased the cover of two heather species and of three grass species.

About key messages

Key messages provide a descriptive index to studies we have found that test this intervention.

Studies are not directly comparable or of equal value. When making decisions based on this evidence, you should consider factors such as study size, study design, reported metrics and relevance of the study to your situation, rather than simply counting the number of studies that support a particular interpretation.

Supporting evidence from individual studies

  1. A before-and-after trial in 1989–1994 in a formerly forested wet heathland in the Netherlands (Jansen et al. 1996) found that cutting trees and removing the leaf litter layer increased the cover of two heather and three grass species. Fifteen years after trees were cut and leaf litter removed, the cover of common heather Calluna vulgaris and cross-leaved heath Erica tetralix (heather: 3%; cross-leaved heath: 2%) was higher than before cutting and removal of leaf litter (heather: 0%; cross-leaved heath: 0%). This pattern was also seen for purple moor-grass Molinia caerulea (before: 0%; after: 18%), bulbous rush Juncus bulbosus (before: 0%; after: 9%), and sharp flower rush Juncus acutiflorus (before: 0%; after: 7%). All trees were cut and the leaf litter removed in winter 1989. Twelve permanent plots measuring either 1 m2 or 4 m2 were established at the site in 1989 and vegetation cover was recorded in July or August for every year in 1989–1994.

    Study and other actions tested
Please cite as:

Martin P.A., Rocha R., Smith R.K. & Sutherland W.J. (2018) Shrubland and Heathland Conservation. Pages 447-494 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2018. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.

Where has this evidence come from?

List of journals searched by synopsis

All the journals searched for all synopses

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

This Action forms part of the Action Synopsis:

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation
Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Shrubland and Heathland Conservation - Published 2017

Shrubland and Heathland synopsis

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation assesses the research looking at whether interventions are beneficial or not. It is based on summarised evidence in synopses, on topics such as amphibians, bats, biodiversity in European farmland, and control of freshwater invasive species. More are available and in progress.

More about What Works in Conservation

Download free PDF or purchase
Our Journal: Conservation Evidence

Our Journal:
Conservation Evidence

A unique, free to publish open-access journal publishing research and case studies that measure the effects of conservation actions.

Read latest volume: Volume 16

Special issues: Amphibian special issue

Go to the Journal

Subscribe to our newsletter

Please add your details if you are interested in receiving updates from the Conservation Evidence team about new papers, synopses and opportunities.

Who uses Conservation Evidence?

Meet the evidence champions

Endangered Landscape Programme Red List Champion - Arc Kent Wildlife Trust The Rufford Foundation Save the Frogs - Ghana Bern wood Supporting Conservation Leaders National Biodiversity Network Sustainability Dashboard Frog Life The international journey of Conservation - Oryx British trust for ornithology Cool Farm Alliance UNEP AWFA Butterfly Conservation People trust for endangered species Vincet Wildlife Trust