Ponies can improve biodiversity through conservation grazing, early results of a study indicate, as it is hoped they will be included in new government policy.
A research project was carried out, on request of Defra and Natural England, by the Dartmoor Heritage Trust with the University of Plymouth at sites on Dartmoor. The project, which started in 2017, aimed to gather scientific evidence on the benefits of ponies as conservation grazers in promoting biodiversity.
Salt blocks were used to attract ponies to areas of moorland dominated by molinia, a grass they would not usually graze.
Paul Lunt, associate professor in environmental science at Plymouth University, told H&H that while the project is ongoing, initial signs are “very promising”.
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