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Burning, grazing and herbicide (glyphosate) treatments were applied in factorial combination to Molinia-dominated moorland in three regions of England: Exmoor, North Peak and Yorkshire Dales. In each region, agri-environment schemes are in place in an attempt to reduce Molinia and encourage the development of dwarf shrub vegetation. Within each region, the same experiment was carried out on two types of vegetation (Molinia-dominated ‘white’ moorland and a mixture of Molinia and Calluna‘grey’ moorland).

Of the treatments applied, glyphosate had the most significant effect on Molinia at all study sites. There was little difference between the use of low and high application rates, 0·27 and 0·54 kg ai ha–1 respectively. The cover of dwarf shrubs, including Calluna in the ‘grey’ sites, was affected by the herbicide treatment in two regions, but there was no significant reduction in the North Peak. Some Calluna plants were killed or damaged by glyphosate.

Two techniques for the re-establishment of Calluna were also investigated in the Molinia-dominated ‘white’ moorland: the two treatments applied in factorial combination were (1) removal of Molinia leaf litter by raking; and (2) application of Calluna seed. Greater Calluna seedling densities were found in the plots in which herbicide was applied, the Molinia litter was removed and seed added.