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Sustainable grazing practices on the South West moors of England (ENRR253)

Twenty examples of what are considered to be moorland in good ecological condition are described in detail in a separate Annex and summarised and analysed in this report in order to determine whether a “model” of sustainable moorland management can be defined. Ten sites on Exmoor, seven on Dartmoor, one on Bodmin Moor and two in West Penwith were selected for investigation. Principal factors investigated were habitat quality, stocking regimes and levels, livestock types and breeds, supplementary feeding, burning practices and other aspects of farm enterprise relevant to moorland management. The moors of the South West are grazed by cattle, sheep and ponies (and red deer on Exmoor). Stocking levels (including ponies) at 18 dwarf shrub dominant sites averaged 0.29 LU/ha (range 0.12-0.54) over the year as a whole (0.34 in summer, 0.24 in winter), and is higher than the rates (0.075-0.225 LU/ha) associated nationally with upland heather in good condition and slightly higher than the prescribed stocking levels for Dartmoor and Exmoor ESAs. Grazing units with greater than 50% heather cover were associated most closely with stocking levels of less than 0.3 LU/ha overall and less than 0.13 LU/ha of winter cattle.

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Sustainable grazing practices on the South west moors of England (incl Site Reports annex) (ENRR254)