The researchers combined data across North America and Europe using a meta-analysis, a way of aggregating results from multiple studies to increase statistical strength. They found strong evidence that increased mowing intensity of urban lawns—which included parks, roundabouts and road verges—had negative ecological effects, particularly on invertebrate and plant diversity. Pest species, on the other hand, benefitted from intense lawn management.
“Even a modest reduction in lawn mowing frequency can bring a host of environmental benefits: increased pollinators, increased plant diversity and reduced greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, a longer, healthier lawn makes it more resistant to pests, weeds, and drought events.” said Dr. Chris Watson, lead author of the study.