Cut/mow and rotovate to control grass

How is the evidence assessed?
  • Effectiveness
    22%
  • Certainty
    15%
  • Harms
    7%

Source countries

Key messages

  • One controlled study in the UK found that mowing followed by rotovating increased the number of heathland plant species in one of two sites. The same study found that the presence of a minority of heathland and non-heathland species increased.

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 controlled study in 1983–1989 in two former heathlands converted to grasslands in Dorset, UK (Smith et al. 1991) found that mowing followed by rotovating increased the number of heathland plant species in one of two cases, and increased the presence of heathland plant species in three of 16 comparisons, but increased the presence of non-heathland plant species for two of 22 comparisons. After six years and in one of two cases, areas that were mown and rotovated had a higher number of heathland plant species (6 species) than areas that were not mown and rotovated (5 species). Presence of heathland plant species was higher in areas that had been mown and rotovated than in areas that had not been mown and rotovated in two of 16 comparisons (cut: present in 10–56% of plots, uncut: present in 3–11% of plots). Presence of non-heathland plant species was higher in areas that had been mown and rotovated than in areas that had not been mown and rotovated in two of 22 comparisons (cut: present in 3–6% of plots, uncut: present in 2–4% of plots). In 1983 five 25 m2 plots were mown and rotovated and five plots were left unmown and unrotovated. In 1989 four 1 m2 quadrats divided into twenty-five 20 cm x 20 cm squares were placed in each plot and the presence of plant species in each square recorded.

    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.

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