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Assessment methods for overgrazing in upland woodlands

Blackface sheep in a deciduous upland woodlandWoodlands in upland parts of Britain have been traditionally used as shelter for livestock. However overgrazing can often occur, with detrimental effects on woodland condition.  With the advent of the Single Farm Payment and cross compliance with Good Agricultural and Environmental Condition, methods are needed to assess when unacceptable conditions are caused by overgrazing.

Under a contract funded by Defra, English Nature and the Forestry Commission, a method has been developed to assess grazing levels in woodland.

This project is now complete and a full report and description of the method is available as an English Nature report in PDF format:

Thompson, R.  Peace, A. Poulsom, L. (2005)  A judgement – based method to identify overgrazing in English upland native woodlands.  English Nature Research Reports, No. 621.

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Robin Gill