Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Encourage foraging waterfowlOne controlled, replicated experiment from the USA found increased straw decomposition when ducks were allowed to forage. SOIL TYPE COVERED: Silty clay  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F711https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F711Wed, 29 May 2013 09:20:41 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Change the timing of ploughingTwo replicated site comparison studies from Denmark and Norway (one also randomized) found reduced soil loss and nitrate leaching when ploughing was delayed until spring. SOIL TYPES COVERED: sandy, sandy-loam, silty-clay loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F712https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F712Wed, 29 May 2013 10:39:46 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Plant new hedgesFive studies in Slovakia, Kenya and Thailand measured the effects of planting grass or shrub hedgerows on soil animals and soil fertility. All five found hedgerows to maintain or improve soil fertility and soil animal activity. Of these, three replicated studies found reduced soil erosion and higher soil organic matter levels. Another replicated trial found a higher diversity of soil animals near to the hedgerows. One of the replicated studies and one review found that adding woody species to the hedgerows improved many factors contributing to soil fertility. SOIL TYPES COVERED: Alluvial, clay, sandy-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F744https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F744Tue, 04 Jun 2013 16:25:36 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Add mulch to cropsBiodiversity: Three replicated trials from Canada, Poland and Spain (including one also controlled, one also randomized and one also controlled and randomized) showed that adding mulch to crops (whether shredded paper, municipal compost or straw) increased soil animal and fungal numbers, diversity and activity. Of these, one trial also showed that mulch improved soil structure and increased soil organic matter. Nutrient loss: One replicated study from Nigeria found higher nutrient levels in continually cropped soil. Erosion: Five studies from India, France, Nigeria and the UK (including one controlled, randomized, replicated trial, one randomized, replicated trial, two replicated (one also controlled), and one controlled trial) found that mulches increased soil stability, and reduced soil erosion and runoff. One trial found that some mulches are more effective than others. Drought: Two replicated trials from India found that adding mulch to crops increased soil moisture. Yield: Two replicated trials from India found that yields increased when either a live mulch or vegetation barrier combined with mulch was used. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, fine loam, gravelly sandy loam, sandy, sandy-clay, sandy loam, sandy silt-loam, silty, silty loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F887https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F887Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:43:03 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with bacteria or fungiBiodiversity: One randomized, replicated trial from India showed that adding soil bacteria and arbuscular mycorrhizal fungi resulted in higher microbial diversity. Soil organic matter: One controlled, randomized, replicated trial from Turkey found increased soil organic matter content in soil under mycorrhizal-inoculated compost applications Yield: Two randomized, replicated trials (including one also controlled) from India and Turkey found higher crop yields. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay-loam, sandy-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F888https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F888Mon, 30 Sep 2013 08:41:47 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with composts not otherwise specifiedOne controlled, randomized, replicated trial in Italy found that applying a high rate of compost increased soil organic matter levels, microbial biomass and fruit yield. SOIL TYPES COVERED: Silty-clay.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F889https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F889Mon, 30 Sep 2013 09:32:44 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with municipal wastes or their compostsTwo controlled, replicated trials in Spain and the United Kingdom measured the effect of adding wastes to the soil. One trial found that adding municipal compost to semi-arid soils greatly reduced soil loss and water runoff. One found mixed results of adding composts and wastes. SOIL TYPES COVERED: coarse loamy, sandy loam.Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F890https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F890Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:29:39 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with organic processing wastes or their compostsTwo controlled, replicated trials from Spain and the United Kingdom (one also randomized) measured the effect of adding composts to soil. One trial found applying high rates of cotton gin compost and poultry manure improved soil structure and reduced soil loss, but increased nutrient loss. One trial found improved nutrient retention and increased barley Hordeum vulgare yield when molasses were added. SOIL TYPES COVERED: sandy-clay, sandy loam, silty-clay.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F891https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F891Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:50:01 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with non-chemical minerals and mineral wastesTwo replicated studies from Australia and New Zealand measured the effects of adding minerals and mineral wastes to the soil. Both found reduced nutrient loss and one study found reduced erosion. SOIL TYPES COVERED: Sandy clay, silt loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F892https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F892Mon, 30 Sep 2013 10:58:48 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Change the timing of manure applicationOne controlled, randomized, replicated site comparison study from the UK found less nitrate was lost from the soil when manure application was delayed from autumn until December or January. SOIL TYPE COVERED: sandy-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F893https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F893Mon, 30 Sep 2013 11:16:56 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Convert to organic farmingBiodiversity: Four studies in Asia, Europe, and the USA (including two site comparison studies and three replicated trials) found higher numbers, diversity, functional diversity (see background) or activity of soil organisms under organic management. Soil organic carbon: Two replicated trials in Italy and the USA showed that organically managed orchards had higher soil carbon levels compared to conventionally managed orchards. One randomized, replicated trial in the USA found soil carbon was lower under organic management compared to alley cropping. Soil organic matter: One replicated trial in Canada found that soil nutrients were lower in organically managed soils. Yields: One replicated trial in Canada found lower yields in organically managed soils. Two replicated trials in the USA (one also randomized) found that fruit was of a higher quality and more resistant to disease, though smaller or that organic management had mixed effects on yield. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, clay loam, fine sandy-loam, loam, sandy loam, sandy-clay loam, silt, silty-clay, silt-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F895https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F895Mon, 30 Sep 2013 11:31:06 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Grow cover crops beneath the main crop (living mulches) or between crop rowsBiodiversity: One randomized, replicated study from Spain found that cover crops increased bacterial numbers and activity. Erosion: Two studies from France and the USA showed reduced erosion under cover crops. One controlled study showed that soil stability was highest under a grass cover, and one randomized replicated study found that cover crops reduced soil loss. Soil organic matter: Two controlled trials from India and South Africa (one also randomized and replicated) found that soil organic matter increased under cover crops, and one trial from Germany found no effect on soil organic matter levels. SOIL TYPES COVERED: gravelly-sandy loam, sandy loam, sandy, silty loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F897https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F897Mon, 30 Sep 2013 14:24:18 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Grow cover crops when the field is emptyBiodiversity: One controlled, randomized, replicated experiment in Martinique found that growing cover crops resulted in more diverse nematode communities. One replicated trial from the USA found greater microbial biomass under ryegrass compared to a ryegrass/vetch cover crop mix. Soil structure: Three randomized, replicated studies from Denmark, Turkey and the UK found that growing cover crops improved soil structure and nutrient retention. One trial found higher soil porosity, interconnectivity and lower resistance in soil under cover crops, and one found reduced nitrate leaching. Soil organic carbon: One replicated study from Denmark and one review based mainly in Japan found increased soil carbon levels under cover crops. One study also found soil carbon levels increased further when legumes were included in cover crops. Soil organic matter: One replicated study from Denmark and three controlled, randomized, replicated studies from Australia and the USA measured the effect of growing cover crops. Three found increased nitrogen levels under cover crops, three found increased carbon, and one found increased nitrates. One trial showed that they increased regardless of whether those crops were legumes or not. Two studies from Europe (including one controlled, replicated trial) found no marked effect on soil organic matter levels. Yield: One replicated trial from the USA found higher tomato yield from soils which had been under a ryegrass cover crop. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, loam, sandy clay, sandy-loam, silty-clay, silty-loam.Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F898https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F898Mon, 30 Sep 2013 15:43:24 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Control traffic and traffic timingBiodiversity: One randomized, replicated study from Poland found higher numbers and bacterial activity under controlled traffic. One replicated site comparison study from Denmark found higher microbial biomass when farm traffic was not controlled Erosion: Five trials from Europe and Australia (including three replicated trials, one controlled before-and after-trial, and one review) found a higher number of pores in the soil, less compaction, reduced runoff and increased water filtration into the soil under controlled traffic. One controlled, replicated trial from India found increased soil crack width when traffic was not controlled. Yield: Two replicated trials from Australia and the USA found increased yield under controlled traffic. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, loamy-sand, loamy-silt, sandy loam, silty, silty-clay, silt loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F899https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F899Tue, 01 Oct 2013 10:25:04 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Incorporate leys into crop rotationOne replicated study from Denmark showed that reducing the extent of grass pasture in leys reduced the undesirable uptake of nitrogen by grasses, therefore requiring lower rates of fertilizer for subsequent crops. SOIL TYPE COVERED: sandy-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F900https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F900Tue, 01 Oct 2013 11:32:25 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Reduce grazing intensityCompaction: One replicated study from Australia found compacted soils recovered when sheep were excluded for 2.5 years. Erosion: Two replicated studies from New Zealand and Syria (one also controlled) measured the effect of grazing animals on soil nutrient and sediment loss. Of these, one trial found increased soil carbon and nitrogen when grazing animals were excluded. One trial found higher soil phosphate levels, and less sediment erosion when grazing time in forage crops was reduced. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, clay-loamy, loamy, silt loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F901https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F901Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:12:26 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil using a mix of organic and inorganic amendmentsBiodiversity: Five controlled trials from China and India (four also randomized and replicated), and one study from Japan found higher microbial biomass and activity in soils with a mix of manure and inorganic fertilizers. Manure alone also increased microbial biomass. One trial found increased microbial diversity. Erosion: One controlled, replicated trial from India found that mixed amendments were more effective at reducing the size of cracks in dry soil than inorganic fertilizers alone or no fertilizer. SOC loss: Four controlled, randomized, replicated trials and one controlled trial from China and India found more organic carbon in soils with mixed fertilizers. Manure alone also increased organic carbon. One trial also found more carbon in soil amended with inorganic fertilizers and lime. SOM loss: Two controlled, randomized, replicated trials from China and India found more nutrients in soils with manure and inorganic fertilizers. One controlled, randomized, replicated trial from China found inconsistent effects of using mixed manure and inorganic fertilizers. Yield: Two controlled, randomized, replicated trials from China found increased maize Zea mays yield in soils with mixed manure and inorganic fertilizer amendments. SOIL TYPES COVERED: clay, clay loam, sandy-loam, silt clay loam, silty-loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F902https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F902Tue, 01 Oct 2013 14:46:11 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Reduce fertilizer, pesticide or herbicide use generallyBiodiversity: Two site comparison studies from Italy and Pakistan (one also replicated) found a higher diversity of soil invertebrates and microorganisms in low-input systems. Nutrient loss: One study from Canada found lower nutrient levels and yields in low-input systems. SOIL TYPES COVERED: coarse sandy, loam, sandy-loam, and silt.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F904https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F904Wed, 02 Oct 2013 09:36:22 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Restore or create low input grasslandsOne randomized, replicated trial in the Netherlands and one controlled trial from France found that restoring grasslands increased the diversity of soil animals. One trial also found higher microbial biomass, activity and carbon under grassland. SOIL TYPES COVERED: sandy-loam, silty.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F905https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F905Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:04:00 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Change tillage practicesBiodiversity loss: Eleven studies from Canada, Europe, Mexico, or the USA measured effects of reduced tillage on soil animals or microbes. Of these, four (including three replicated trials (three also randomized and one also controlled)) found more microbes, more species of earthworm, or higher microbe activity under reduced tillage. One replicated trial found increased numbers of soil animals and earthworms under reduced tillage. One controlled, replicated trial found mixed effects on microbe diversity depending on time of sampling. Two, (including one controlled, replicated trial) found no effect of reduced tillage on earthworm activity or microbe activity. Compaction: Five studies from Australia, Canada, and Europe measured the effect of controlled traffic and reduced tillage on compacted soils. Of these, two (including one before-and-after trial and one replicated trial) found reduced compaction and subsequent effects (reduced water runoff, for example) under controlled traffic, and one also found that crop yields increased under no-tillage. Three replicated trials, including one site comparison study, found higher compaction under reduced tillage. Drought: Three replicated trials from Europe and India (one also randomized) found the size of soil cracks decreased, and ability of soil to absorb water and soil water content increased with conventional ploughing and sub-soiling. Erosion: Nine replicated trials from Brazil, Europe, India, Nigeria and the USA, and one review showed mixed results of tillage on soil erosion. Seven trials (one also controlled and randomized) showed reduced soil loss and runoff under reduced tillage compared to conventional ploughing. One trial showed no differences between tillage systems, but demonstrated that across-slope cultivation reduced soil loss compared to up-and-downslope cultivation. Two trials showed that no-tillage increased soil loss in the absence of crop cover. Soil organic carbon: Twelve studies from Australia, Canada, China, Europe, Japan and the USA compared the effect of no-tillage and conventionally tilled systems on soil organic carbon. All (including two randomized, five replicated, two randomized, replicated, and one controlled, randomized, replicated) found higher soil organic carbon in soils under a no-tillage or reduced tillage system compared to conventionally tilled soil. One review showed that no-tillage with cover cropping and manure application increases soil organic carbon. One randomized, replicated trial from Spain found greater soil organic carbon in conventionally tilled soil. One replicated trial from Canada found no effect of tillage on soil carbon. Soil organic matter: Fifteen studies from Canada, China, Europe, Morocco, and the USA measured effects of reduced tillage on soil organic matter content and nutrient retention. Of these, eight studies (including four replicated (two also randomized), two site comparisons (one also replicated) and one controlled) found maintained or increased soil organic matter and improved soil structure under reduced tillage. Four trials (including two replicated and two site comparison studies) found higher nutrient retention under reduced tillage. One controlled, replicated trial found less carbon and nitrate in no-till compared to conventionally tilled soil, but conventionally tilled soil lost more carbon and nitrate. One controlled, randomized, replicated trial and one replicated trial found mixed effects of reduced tillage on soil nitrogen levels. Yield: One replicated study from Canada found lower yields under minimum or no-tillage compared to conventional tillage, and one controlled, randomized, replicated study from the USA found higher yields when subsoiling was done. One randomized, replicated study from Portugal found no effect of tillage treatment on yield.   SOIL TYPES COVERED: anthrosol, calcareous silt loam, chalky, clay, clay loam, fine sandy loam, loam, loamy-clay, loam - sandy loam, loam – silt-loam, loamy sand, loamy silt, non-chalky clay, sandy, sandy clay loam, sandy loam, sandy silt-loam, silt loam, silty, silty-clay, silty clay loam, silty loam.Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F906https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F906Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:37:18 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Retain crop residuesBiodiversity: One replicated study from Mexico found higher microbial biomass when crop residues were retained. Erosion: One review found reduced water runoff, increased water storage and reduced soil erosion. One replicated site comparison from Canada found mixed effects on soil physical properties, including penetration resistance and the size of soil aggregates. One replicated study from the USA found that tillage can have mixed results on soil erosion when crop remains are removed. Soil organic matter: Two randomized, replicated trials from Australia and China found higher soil organic carbon and nitrogen when residues were retained. One trial found this only when fertilizer was also applied. Yield: Two randomized, replicated trials from Australia and China found higher yields when residues were retained. One trial found this only when residue retention was done combination with fertilizer application and no-tillage. Soil types covered: clay, loam, sandy-loam, silt loam.      Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F907https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F907Wed, 02 Oct 2013 11:38:30 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with crops grown as green manuresTwo controlled, randomized, replicated studies from India and Pakistan found higher soil organic carbon, or increased grain yields when green manures were grown. SOIL TYPES COVERED: Clay loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F908https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F908Wed, 02 Oct 2013 15:31:30 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with formulated chemical compoundsNutrient loss: Three of five replicated trials from New Zealand and the UK measured the effect of applying nitrification inhibitors to the soil and three found reduced nitrate losses and nitrous oxide emissions, although one of these found that the method of application influenced its effect [Thompson]. One trial found no effect on nitrate loss. One trial found reduced nutrient and soil loss when aluminium sulphate was applied to the soil. Soil organic matter: Five of six studies (including three controlled, randomized and replicated and one randomized and replicated) from Australia, China, India, Syria and the UK testing the effects of adding chemical compounds to the soil showed an increase in soil organic matter or carbon when nitrogen or phosphorus fertilizer was applied. One site comparison study showed that a slow-release fertilizer resulted in higher nutrient retention. One study found higher carbon levels when NPK fertilizers were applied with straw, than when applied alone, and one replicated study from France found higher soil carbon when manure rather than chemical compounds were applied. Yield: One replicated trial from India and a trial from the Philippines showed that maize, wheat and rice yield increased with increased fertilizer application. Soil types covered: clay, fine loamy, gravelly-sandy loam, loam, loamy sand, sandy loam, silty, silty-clay, silt-loam.Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F909https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F909Wed, 02 Oct 2013 15:34:13 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with fresh plant material or crop remainsBiodiversity: One randomized, replicated experiment from Belgium found increased microbial biomass when crop remains and straw were added. Compaction: One study from India found improved soil structure when straw was incorporated. One before-and-after trial from the UK found that incorporating straw residues by discing (reduced tillage) did not improve anaerobic soils (low oxygen levels) in compacted soils. Erosion: Two randomized, replicated studies from Canada and India measured the effect of incorporating straw on erosion. One found straw addition reduced soil loss, and one found mixed effects depending on soil type. Nutrient loss: Four replicated studies from Belgium, the UK and the USA (one also controlled, one also randomized, and two also controlled and randomized) reported higher soil nitrogen levels when compost or straw was applied, but mixed results when processed wastes were added. One also found reduced nitrate leaching when straw was incorporated. One replicated study from China and the Philippines found mixed results depending on site. Soil organic carbon: Six studies from China, Denmark and India measured the effect of incorporating plant material into the soil. All (including one replicated, two randomized, replicated studies, one controlled, randomized, replicated studies and one controlled before-and-after site comparison) found higher carbon levels when plant material was added. One found higher carbon levels when straw was applied along with NPK fertilizers. One also found larger soil aggregates. One replicated study from China and the Philippines found mixed results depending on site. Yield: One replicated trial from Denmark found higher barley yield when straw was incorporated. One trial from the Philippines found higher grain yields when crop remains were incorporated earlier in the season. Soil types covered: clay, clay loam, fine loam, loam/sandy loam, loamy sand, sandy, sandy clay loam, sandy loam, sandy-silt, silt loam, silty, silty-clay.Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F910https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F910Thu, 03 Oct 2013 09:06:37 +0100Collected Evidence: Collected Evidence: Amend the soil with manures and agricultural compostsBiodiversity loss: Three controlled, replicated studies from the UK and USA found higher microbial biomass when manure or compost was applied, and higher microbial respiration when poultry manure was applied. Erosion: One controlled, randomized, replicated study from India found lower soil loss and water runoff with manure application in combination with other treatments. Nutrient management: Four studies from Canada, Spain, the UK and the USA measured the effect of a variety of manure types on soil nutrient levels. Of these, three randomized, replicated studies (two also controlled) found reduced nutrient loss and higher nitrogen levels when farmyard or poultry manure was applied. One also found lower nutrient loss when farmyard manure (rather than poultry manure or slurry) was applied in winter rather than autumn. One controlled replicated study found higher nitrate leaching. Soil organic carbon: Four studies (including three controlled, replicated studies (one also randomized) and a review) from India, Japan and the UK found higher carbon levels when manures were applied. Soil organic matter: One controlled, randomized, replicated study from Turkey found higher organic matter, larger soil aggregations and a positive effect on soil physical properties when manure and compost were applied. Two studies from Denmark and Germany found no effect of manure on organic matter levels. Yield: Four controlled, replicated studies (including three also randomized) from India, Spain and Turkey found higher crop yields when manures or compost were applied. One study found higher yields when manure were applied in combination with cover crops. Soil types covered: Clay loam, fine sandy-silty loam, loam, loamy, sandy loam, sandy clay loam, silty loam, and sandy silt loam.  Collected Evidencehttps%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F911https%3A%2F%2Fconservationevidence.com%2Factions%2F911Thu, 03 Oct 2013 11:10:07 +0100
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What Works in Conservation

What Works in Conservation provides expert assessments of the effectiveness of actions, based on summarised evidence, in synopses. Subjects covered so far include amphibians, birds, mammals, forests, peatland and control of freshwater invasive species. More are in progress.

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