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The National Agricultural Library is one of four national libraries of the United States, with locations in Beltsville, Maryland and Washington, D.C. It houses one of the world's largest and most accessible agricultural information collections and serves as the nexus for a national network of state land-grant and U.S. Department of Agriculture field libraries. In fiscal year 2011 (Oct 2010 through Sept 2011) NAL delivered more than 100 million direct customer service transactions.

Journal Article

Journal article

Reduced grazing and the decline of Pulsatilla vulgaris Mill. (Ranunculaceae) in England, UK  [2011]

Walker, Kevin J.; Pinches, Clare E.;

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In England Pulsatilla vulgaris is a threatened herb that declined from 130 to 33 sites between 1750 and the 1960s due to ploughing-up of calcareous grassland. We examined the subsequent fate of these populations using documentary evidence and field survey. Demographic trends were related to changes in grassland composition, structure and management and responses to increased above-ground competition (caused by reduced grazing) were simulated in a 10-year shading experiment. Since 1968 P. vulgaris has been lost from 16 sites and gradually declined on four others. However, the total population size increased by 258% due to the reintroduction of winter grazing on three sites. This produced a significantly shorter, more herb-rich sward, with a lower cover of Bromopsis erecta (c. 10%), than on sites where populations remained stable or declined. Experimental shading had a significant negative effect on plant survival and flowering performance. These results confirmed that reduced grazing is now one of the major threats to species dependent on short swards, especially on isolated sites where livestock farming is no longer economically viable. That many of these declines took place on nature reserves highlights the difficulties of managing isolated grasslands, and the urgent need to re-instate grazing on reserves supporting populations of threatened species in otherwise intensively managed lowland landscapes.

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Biological conservation

ISSN : 0006-3207