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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Plant shrubs in clusters Shrubland and Heathland Conservation

Key messages

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  • A randomized, controlled study in South Africa found that when shrubs were planted in clumps more of them died than when they were planted alone.

Supporting evidence from individual studies


A randomized, controlled study in 2000–2001 in a formerly mined karoo shrubland in Cape Province, South Africa (Blignaut & Milton 2005) found that planting shrub species in clumps led to an increase in their mortality. After one year the percentage of shrubs planted in clumps that died (39%) was higher than the percentage of shrubs planted on their own that died (25%). In 2000 adult shrubs of three species (Aridaria noctiflora, Drosanthemum deciduum, and Psilocaulon dinteri) were removed from a shrubland and translocated to a formerly mined area. Ninety-six clumps each consisting of three shrubs of different species were planted with one clump per 25 m2 plot, while 288 shrubs of the three species used were planted alone in each plot. Survival of plants was recorded in 2001.

Referenced papers

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.