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What Works in Conservation 2020

William J. Sutherland
Lynn V. Dicks
Silviu O. Petrovan
et al.

4. Farmland conservation

4.10 Threat: Invasive and other problematic species

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Likely to be beneficial

Control predatory mammals and birds (foxes, crows, stoats and weasels)

1Eight studies (including a systematic review) from France and the UK found predator control (sometimes alongside other interventions) increased the abundance, population size or productivity of some birds. A randomized, replicated, controlled study from the UK did not. Assessment: likely to be beneficial (effectiveness 90 %; certainty 60 %).


Unknown effectiveness (limited evidence)

Control scrub

3A replicated site comparison from the UK found the number of young grey partridge per adult was negatively associated with management that included scrub control. Assessment: unknown effectiveness — limited evidence (effectiveness 0 %; certainty 2 %).


Control weeds without damaging other plants in conservation areas

5Two studies (one randomized, replicated, controlled) from the UK found that after specific plants were controlled, new plants established or diversity increased. A replicated, controlled laboratory and grassland study found a specific herbicide had negative impacts on one beetle species. Eleven studies investigated different methods of controlling plants. Assessment: unknown effectiveness — limited evidence (effectiveness 90 %; certainty 28 %).


Protect individual nests of ground-nesting birds

7Two randomized, replicated, controlled studies from Sweden found nest exclosures increased measures of ground-nesting bird productivity, however both found bird numbers or adult predation rates were unaffected or negatively affected by exclosures. Assessment: unknown effectiveness — limited evidence (effectiveness 30 %; certainty 13 %).


No evidence found (no assessment)

9We have captured no evidence for the following interventions:

  • Control grey squirrels
  • Erect predator-proof fencing around important breeding sites for waders
  • Manage wild deer numbers
  • Remove coarse fish

Evidence not assessed

Control bracken

10A systematic review found repeated herbicide applications reduced bracken abundance but cutting may be equally effective. A laboratory trial found the same herbicide could inhibit the growth of mosses under certain conditions. Assessment: this intervention has not been assessed.


Control invasive non-native plants on farmland (such as Himalayan balsam, Japanese knotweed)

12Two randomized, replicated, controlled trials in the Czech Republic found removing all giant hogweed flower heads at peak flowering time reduced seed production. Assessment: this intervention has not been assessed.


Control mink

14A systematic review found trapping may be an effective method of reducing American mink populations. A study in the UK found mink were successfully eradicated from a large area by systematic trapping. Assessment: this intervention has not been assessed.


Provide medicated grit for grouse

16A controlled study from the UK found higher red grouse productivity where medicated grit was provided. Assessment: this intervention has not been assessed.


Table des illustrations

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