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Natural England publications

Natural England publishes a range of relevant publications and information notes.  The following are recommended and can be downloaded in pdf:

The Herbicide Handbook

Bracken (NE Species Information Note SIN011)

Bracken management: ecological, archaeological and landscape issues and priorities (NE Technical Information Note TIN047)

Bracken Management and Control (NE Technical Information Note TIN048)

Research papers

Malík, M.; Mika, O.J.; Navrátilová, Z.; Killi, U.K.; Tlustoš, P.; Patočka, J. Health and Environmental Hazards of the Toxic Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn (Bracken Fern). Plants 202413, 18. 

Link to article here

Akpınar, I., Alday, J.G., Cox, E., McAllister, H.A., Le Duc, M.G., Pakeman, R.J., Marrs, R.H. (2023) How long do bracken (Pteridium aquilinum (L.) Kuhn) control treatments maintain effectiveness? Ecological Engineering. Vol.186
Link to publication

Levy-Tacher, S.I., Morón-Ríos, A. (2023) Control of bracken by promoting regeneration of woody vegetation in the Yucatan Peninsula. Trees, Forests and People. Vol 13.
Link to full open access article here

Pakeman, R.J. (2023). A Rapid Evidence Review of the Implications of Not Controlling Bracken with Asulam in Scotland. A report for the Scottish Government. James Hutton Institute. pp22

Link to download here

Alday, J.G., Cox, E.S., Lee, H., Ghorbani, J., Milligan, G., McAllister, H.A., Pakeman, R.J., Le Duc, M.G., Marrs, R.H. (2023) Recovery of upland acid grasslands after Pteridium aquilinum control: Long-term effectiveness of cutting, repeated herbicide and bruising. Journal of Environmental Management. Vol 342.

Dr Richard Birnie has provided three of his papers prepared whilst working at the Macaulay Institute.  These can be accessed from the links below:


Stewart, G.B., Tyler, C. & Pullin, A.S. (2005). Effectiveness of current methods for the Control of Bracken (Pteridium aquilinum) Systematic Review No. 3. Centre for Evidence- Based Conservation, University of Birmingham, UK 

Bracken and the Asulam Ban

Knowledge Scotland has published a briefing by Professor Robin Pakeman that summarises the amount of bracken controlled by the aerial application of asulam in the period 1978 - 2010.  It provides an estimate of what the bracken cover might have been if asulam on this scale had not been applied.  

The estimated 50% reduction in the area of bracken that has been achieved in this period certainly provides some justification for the importance of the work to maintain the availability of asulam.

Other Information

The Heritage Journal.  January 2013 - This journal has published an article that comments on the potential damage that bracken rhizomes can inflict on archaeology.


Horse Drawn Bracken Bruising.  The control options for bracken are many and varied.  A horse-drawn bracken bruiser can be seen in action in the top photo in the margin but see the Heavy Horses website for further information.


Tick bites and Lyme disease.  See the factsheet and best practice guide for forest users issued by the Royal Forestry Society.  The relevance to bracken is the strong association between bracken litter and high sheep tick densities - the litter provides an ideal habitat for ticks.


Monsanto guide to the use of RoundUp.  Guidance produced by Monsanto about how RoundUp can be used for bracken control. The information is also available from the Monsanto website.


LERAP = Local Environment Risk for Pesticides.  Certain pesticides have an aquatic buffer zone requirement when applied by horizontal boom or broadcast air-assisted sprayers. To reduce this aquatic buffer zone, there is a legal obligation to carry out and record a Local Environment Risk Assessment for Pesticides.


Bracken for Butterflies.  Guidance produced by Butterfly Conservation.