Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Farm animals keep vole army at bay


Giving a mix of farm animals a controlled ’right to roam’ will help to improve biodiversity and solve a vole conservation dilemma in upland Britain, according to new research published today in the Journal of Applied Ecology.

As numbers of hill farmers and grazing animals dwindle, field voles are thriving in undisturbed upland and forest areas. This is great news for protected birds of prey such as hen harriers that use voles as a source of food, but not so good for Britain’s upland forests as the growing army of voles enjoy banqueting on young tree saplings.

The new research, carried out by a team of scientists from Scotland, suggests mixed farming of sheep and cattle, once common in the British landscape, should be reintroduced. This step, combined with some simple changes to forest management - such as allowing farm animals managed roaming rights within the landscape - will allow vole numbers to be controlled, helping to conserve and improve the mix of plants, trees and other wildlife.

Lead author, Dr Darren Evans from the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, said "This is the first time that a scientific link has been shown between livestock grazing methods and vole numbers. Our work has revealed that a return to mixed farming with managed ’right to roam’, provides a positive way of managing our upland areas to benefit conservationists, foresters and farmers."

Dr Evans explained "Voles are often seen as public enemy number one for young forests but, by forming a new partnership between forest managers and upland farmers, we can get the best mix of biodiversity and commercial tree planting, while conserving an important food source for the birds of prey."

Mixed farming where animals such as sheep, cows, horses and goats lived together on a single farm was a common sight in Britain until the 1950s, before agricultural reform changed the way much of the uplands were managed.

A new PhD student at the Macaulay Institute is taking the vole research further, and trying to answer some of the questions it has raised. The student is co-supervised by staff at the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology and the University of Aberdeen.

Barnaby Smith | alfa

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Etching Microstructures with Lasers

Ultrafast lasers have introduced new possibilities in engraving ultrafine structures, and scientists are now also investigating how to use them to etch microstructures into thin glass. There are possible applications in analytics (lab on a chip) and especially in electronics and the consumer sector, where great interest has been shown.

This new method was born of a surprising phenomenon: irradiating glass in a particular way with an ultrafast laser has the effect of making the glass up to a...

Im Focus: Light-driven atomic rotations excite magnetic waves

Terahertz excitation of selected crystal vibrations leads to an effective magnetic field that drives coherent spin motion

Controlling functional properties by light is one of the grand goals in modern condensed matter physics and materials science. A new study now demonstrates how...

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

How nanoscience will improve our health and lives in the coming years

27.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

OU-led team discovers rare, newborn tri-star system using ALMA

27.10.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

'Neighbor maps' reveal the genome's 3-D shape

27.10.2016 | Life Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>