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Grazing vs. mowing: A meta-analysis of biodiversity benefits for grassland management
Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment (2016)
  • Per Milberg, Linköping University
To maintain the high biodiversity of semi-natural grasslands, management by grazing or mowing is
needed. Given the limited resources and few remaining areas, the best management method should be
used. However, only a few studies comparing the effects of mowing and grazing on grassland biodiversity
exists. Therefore, the goal of the present review was to extract as much data as possible from the
literature and evaluate them using a meta-analysis approach. We searched scientific and grey literature
for studies comparing the effects of grazing and annual mowing on outcomes relevant for biodiversity
conservation. We identified 35 relevant studies on grazing and annual mowing that provided data
suitable for the meta-analysis. We found that grazing generally had a more positive effect on the
conservation value of semi-natural grasslands compared to mowing, but effect sizes were generally small
to moderate for most contrasts. Furthermore, effects varied across some grassland characteristics e.g. for
different grassland types, with grazing and mowing having a similar effect or mowing having a more
positive effect in certain cases. Our results suggest, that in most cases grazing should be the preferred
management method when managing for grassland conservation.
Publication Date
Spring April, 2016
Citation Information
Per Milberg. "Grazing vs. mowing: A meta-analysis of biodiversity benefits for grassland management" Agriculture Ecosystems and Environment (2016)
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