Species-rich semi-natural grasslands in Europe are becoming more fragmented and many species that depend on thishabitat type are rare and threatened today. Management methods like mowing and grazing are needed to preserve remaininggrasslands. Because management is costly it is important to use the most cost-effective as well as the most beneficialmanagement method, but few studies have compared mowing and grazing. We investigated the effect of mowing andgrazing on grassland vegetation using data from 11 long-term field trials situated in southern Sweden. We calculated thechange in the odds of finding species belonging to three different groups of indicators at the start of the treatment and after8 and 14 years. The used indicator groups were indicators of good management, excess nitrogen and poor management.The results revealed an increase in the odds of finding indicators of good management in mowed plots and an increasein finding indicators of excess nitrogen in grazed plots. The odds of finding indicators of poor management remainedunchanged. Results from sub-analysis of the grazing intensity showed a more negative effect from grazing with low grazingintensity than normal/high grazing intensity. Therefore, mowing is the best long-term management method for seminaturalgrasslands in Sweden and grazing using a low grazing intensity should be avoided.
Funding agencies: Swedish Board of Agriculture; Stiftelsen Oscar och Lili Lamms minne