Conservation Evidence strives to be as useful to conservationists as possible. Please take our survey to help the team improve our resource.

Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Scrub clearance and soil disturbance increases bee orchid Ophrys apifera frequency in calcareous grassland at Norton Heath roadside verge, Essex, England

Published source details

Gardiner T. & Vaughan A. (2009) Scrub clearance and soil disturbance increases bee orchid Ophrys apifera frequency in calcareous grassland at Norton Heath roadside verge, Essex, England. Conservation Evidence, 6, 39-41

Summary

Scrub clearance was undertaken on calcareous grassland along a roadside verge at Norton Heath in Essex. The site was fenced to prevent grazing by rabbits Oryctolagus cuniculus. After scrub clearance, the number of bee orchid Ophrys apifera basal leaf rosettes was counted in a 3 x 3 m area where the soil was disturbed by turning over manually with a fork, and in an adjacent control which had no soil disturbance.  A total of 29 basal rosettes of O.apifera were noted in the disturbed area in the first spring after clearance, contrasting with only seven rosettes in the undisturbed control plot.  These results suggest that it may therefore be beneficial to create scrapes to encourage the establishment of O.apifera and also a range of other calcareous grassland plants.