How does roadside vegetation management affect the diversity of vascular plants and invertebrates? A systematic review protocol

Bernes, Claes; Bullock, James M.; Jakobsson, Simon; Verheyen, Kris; Lindborg, Regina. 2017 How does roadside vegetation management affect the diversity of vascular plants and invertebrates? A systematic review protocol. Environmental Evidence, 6, 16. 6, pp.

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Background: Roadsides have been acknowledged as potential substitutes for semi-natural grasslands and other open habitats with high biodiversity, many of which are now declining. Current recommendations for roadside management to promote conservation of biodiversity are largely based on studies of plants in meadows or pastures, although such areas often differ from roadsides in terms of environmental conditions and disturbance regimes. Stakeholders in Sweden have emphasised the need for more targeted guidelines for roadside management, based on actual roadside studies. We recently performed a systematic mapping of the evidence on how roadside management affects biodiversity and the dispersal of species. Through this process, we found 98 studies on how the richness or abundance of species on roadsides is affected by management such as regular mowing, burning, grazing or selective mechanical removal of plants. Since all of these interventions entail removal of plant biomass, they are comparable. Most of the studies recorded management effects on vascular plants, but there were 14 investigations of insects and other invertebrates. We now intend to proceed with a full systematic review of how maintenance or restoration of roadsides based on non-chemical vegetation removal affects the diversity of vascular plants and invertebrates. Methods: Most of the evidence on which the proposed systematic review is to be based will be selected from the systematic map. To identify more recently published literature on the topic of the review, we will perform a search update using a subset of the search terms applied for the systematic map. The criteria for inclusion of studies will be the same as for the map, except that interventions and outcomes will be restricted to those relevant to the review. Relevant studies will be subject to critical appraisal and categorised as having high or low validity for the review. Studies with low validity will be excluded from the review. Utilisable data on outcomes, interventions and other potential effect modifiers will be extracted from included articles. A narrative synthesis will describe the validity and findings of all studies in the review. Where a sufficient number of studies report similar outcome types, meta-analysis will be conducted.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
CEH Sections/Science Areas: Biodiversity (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 2047-2382
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: biodiversity, roadside management, mowing, grazing, burning, plant removal, insects, invertebrates
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 28 Nov 2017 16:02 +0 (UTC)

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