Use fences to exclude large herbivores

How is the evidence assessed?

Source countries

Key messages

  • One controlled study in the USA found that using fences to exclude deer increased the height of shrubs, but not shrub cover.

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 2001–2006 in chaparral shrubland that had been cut to reduce wildfires in California, USA (Potts et al. 2010) found that using fences to exclude deer from shrubland increased the height of shrubs, but not shrub cover after three years. In plots that were fenced to exclude deer, shrubs were taller in one of two years (67 cm) than in plots that were not fenced (55 cm). However, shrub cover in plots that were fenced was not significantly different to that in plots that were not fenced (data not presented). Fuel reduction treatments to reduce wildfire risk were carried out in all plots in 2001–2003. In 2003 mesh fences 1.5 m tall were built around five 2.5 m2 quadrats and five quadrats were left unfenced. The height and cover of vegetation in all quadrats was assessed by eye in 2005 and 2006.

    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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