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The lesser mottled grasshopper, Stenobothrus stigmaticus: lessons from habitat management at its only site in the British Isles

Selman, R.G. and Cherrill, A. (2018) The lesser mottled grasshopper, Stenobothrus stigmaticus: lessons from habitat management at its only site in the British Isles. Journal of Orthoptera Research, 27 (1). pp. 83-89.

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.3897/jor.27.15123


The lesser mottled grasshopper, Stenobothrus stigmaticus, occurs at a single site in the British Isles. This paper describes the history of site protection and management over 30 years including the introduction of conservation grazing management. Successes have been limited, but this has been due largely to issues around recreational access and stakeholder engagement rather than lack of ecological understanding. Despite severe challenges, sufficient experience has been gained to be confident that grazing by sheep can assist in re-establishing the grasshopper over areas of a protected site from which it is now absent or present in only scattered colonies. The grasshopper requires a short, open grassland and pockets of such vegetation occur naturally because of rabbit-grazing and thin, nutrient poor, free-draining soils around rocky outcrops. These small areas have proved to be critical to the species persistence and provide a nucleus from which spread can occur. Grazing management has involved complex negotiations with multiple stakeholders, including landowners, their agents, the landowners’ tenants, and the tenants’ graziers. Public access, cases of dogs worrying grazing livestock, and objections over the introduction of fencing in a once open landscape have made negotiations more difficult. Future success requires that these issues be addressed. Observations on a golf course within the site, with a remnant population of the grasshopper, suggest that winter-cutting of grassland may be a useful supplement to grazing management while such difficulties remain.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: dogs, golf course, grazing, heathland, Isle of Man, mowing, protected area, recreation pressure, sheep worrying
Divisions: Crop and Environment Sciences
Depositing User: Ms Kath Osborn
Date Deposited: 05 Jul 2018 17:58
Last Modified: 05 Jul 2018 17:58
URI: http://hau.collections.crest.ac.uk/id/eprint/17290

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