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Land use changes during the 20th century have led to the conversion of species rich grasslands such as wildflower meadows, to agricultural areas. Grassland species are also threatened by fragmentation, neglect, recreation and invasive, non-native species. Proper management of existing areas of grasslands is therefore key to the protection of the plants found in these habitats, as well as the invertebrates, small mammal and bird species that are associated.
Flora Locale provide further information on grassland management and the UK BAP links below provide information regarding plans for the protection of grasslands in the UK.
Generally comprised of unimproved neutral grassland and seasonally flooded grasslands, the management of this habitat centres around hay cutting and livestock grazing. If haycutting has been part of a meadows traditional management then this should be continued for the species already present. Grazing helps maintain a structural diversity of short and tussocky swards, important for many species. Other forms of management include maintaining the hydrology of wetter grasslands and preventing large scale scrub invasion.
UK BAP Lowland Meadows information
Lowland Dry Acid Grassland
Occurring typically on free-draining, nutrient poor soils, this habitat is often part of a lowland heath landscape. One of the main threats to this habitat type, along with development, is incorrect management. Management should aim for a structural diversity using techniques such as light grazing on rotation if possible, to prevent scrub and bracken invasion and cutting if grazing is not an option at a site.
UK BAP Lowland Dry Acid Grassland information
Lowland Calcareous Grassland
Typically found on valley slopes and escarpments, this type of habitat faces the usual threats from fragmentation, development and recreation as well as from changes in agricultural practices such as a move toward arable cropping and the increased use of chemicals that generally goes hand in hand. Invasive non-native species can also be problematic. Management should focus on creating a mosaic of sub-habitats, including bare ground and some areas of scrub, with the use of techniques such as grazing and scrub control.
UK BAP Lowland Calcareous Grassland information