Studies in the grazing of heather moorland in North-East Scotland. II. Response of heather.

Published online
10 Sep 1984
Content type
Journal article
Journal title
Journal of Applied Ecology

Welch, D.

Publication language


Trends in heather cover, ht. and standing crop were observed at 32 sites during 1969-72. Significant trends in heather cover and biomass occurred at most sites; heather declined under heavier grazing and increased mainly at sites receiving little dung. Cover increased less than ht. under light grazing and decreased more under heavy grazing. The variability of the heather response was accounted for only in part by selectivity in defoliation and cattle affected heather in ways unrelated to the observed utlization. The stocking rates above which the heather declined were estimated as 0.2 cattle and 2.7 sheep/ha, given a mean growth rate of 4.7 cm/yr.

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