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A flower-rich lawn for pollinators: How mowing frequencies, nitrogen levels and social attitudes affects the flower resources available to pollinators on private lawns
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Biology Education Centre. (LAWN-projektet)
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 30 credits / 45 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Semi-natural grasslands such as pastures and meadows are decreasing worldwide, mainly due to land use changes and intensifications in agriculture, a decrease which is negatively affecting many herb and pollinator species. Meanwhile, lawns are becoming more abundant and occupy larger areas than ever before, since lawns are seen as important features around human settlements. In this study, the potential for private lawns to provide flower resources for pollinators is studied. The survey was performed in twelve private gardens in the rural area north-west of Uppsala, Sweden. In order to get a comprehensive picture of what the lawn-flora and pollinators are affected by, three aspects were considered; 1) different mowing regimes on three 3 m x 3 m plots; I, conventional mowing (mowed as often as the lawn-owners usually mow their lawn), II, mowing once a month and III, mowing once per season, 2) the level of nitrogen on the lawn and 3) social norms regarding lawn management and lawn-weeds. It was found that less mowed private lawns can become flower-rich areas, used by more pollinators. Additionally, lawns with low nitrogen levels attracted more pollinators. However, the lawn-owners need to have a positive attitude towards the look of a less mown and tall-grown lawn in order to be willing to adopt a less intensive management, which most of them did not have. The social aspect shows that the aesthetic look of a less managed lawn need to be considered, advising less intensive mowing frequencies and low nitrogen levels in the lawn alone are not enough to affect the public. Debating the lawns’ short-cut norm and creatively improving the look of a less managed lawn are suggestions which could change the public view of less intensively managed lawns.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 33 p.
Keyword [en]
Private lawns, pollinator decline, social-ecological, nitrogen, semi-natural grassland.
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-239200OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-239200DiVA: diva2:773610
Subject / course
Biology (HGO)
Educational program
Master Programme in Biology
The LAWN project
Available from: 2014-12-19 Created: 2014-12-19 Last updated: 2014-12-19Bibliographically approved

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Norlin, Karin
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Biology Education Centre
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