Wood-pastures are associated with high cultural and biodiversity values in Europe. However, due to their relatively low productivity, large areas of wood-pastures have been lost over the last century. In some areas, incentive schemes have been developed to revive wood-pastures. We investigated the effects of one such scheme in western Estonia. We compared the structure of grazed wood-pastures (old and restored) to those of abandoned wood-pastures and ungrazed forest stands to explore the effects of management, and conducted interviews with 24 farmers to investigate their motivations to carry out the management. We found a positive influence of active management on the semi-open structure of wood-pastures. Financial support was vital for management, but personal values related to tradition also played an important role. The interviewees differed widely in their range of motivations, suggesting that other strategies in addition to financial incentives would further improve the management of wood-pastures in the region.
Agriculture Biodiversity Conservation of Natural Resourcesmethods Estonia Forests Grassland