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Improving the management and success of arable plant options in ELS and HLS. - BD5204

Intensive agricultural management has resulted in severe declines in the abundance and geographic range of many characteristic plant species. The UK agri-environment schemes aim to reveres these declines by encouraging either the extensive management of the crop at the margin of the field (EF9, unfertilised conservation headland), or by removing land from cropping and cultivating it annually (EF11, uncropped cultivated margins).

However, evidence from experiments and monitoring show a rapid increase in the cover of undesirable and pernicious weeds in these options. This represents a serious threat to scarce arable plant communities and has raised concern in the farming community about weed control in adjacent and following crops that have been largely responsible for the poor uptake of these options. The aim of this project is to improve the effectiveness and uptake of arable plant options in the agri-environment schemes.
The aim of this project will be achieved by addressing the following objectives:

1. To undertake a baseline year assessment of farmers’ and contractors’ attitudes and approaches to arable plant conservation, and the constraints of management options available and practices currently used
2. To apply a range of different management techniques specifically to support arable plants on existing areas of ELS and HLS options of farm
3. To quantify performance of the change in practice. This will involve assessing sites annually at the optimum time to ensure the variation in germination and establishment of the species year to year is captured
4. To provide recommendation for modifications to existing ES options or entirely new options that will improve option uptake and the overall density of ES for arable plant conservation
Project Documents
• SPE - Specification : BD5204 Plant Spec 010210 final   (111k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2010

To: 2015

Cost: £375,000
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Centre for Ecology and Hydrology
Environmental Stewardship