Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Practical techniques to increase the biodiversity of agriculturally improved grassland (old BD0339) - BD1425

Although the maintenance and enhancement of biological diversity of agriculturally improved grassland is an important part of the objectives of ESA and Countryside Stewardship (CS) schemes, results to date suggest that current methods have been relatively ineffective or impractical on a large scale. This study will aim to identify practical and cost-effective techniques to increase and maintain the biodiversity of agriculturally improved grasslands on a range of fertile substrata. Effectiveness of combinations of practical treatments to overcome constraints (availability of propagules, lack of sites for germination, competition, mollusc herbivory, soil fertility and soil biodiversity) on enhancing botanical diversity will be assessed experimentally, and the ecological processes important in establishing and dispersing wildflower species in grasslands under different management regimes will be investigated. In addition, composition of key invertebrate groups will be analysed and effects of changes in soil microbial communities on plant germination and establishment, community assembly and other ecosystem functions will be determined. Results will allow revision and refinement of current guidelines for enhancing the biological diversity of grasslands and will allow analysis of the agronomic implications of grassland diversification. Insights into the ecological processes controlling diversity and stability within restored grassland will also be provided, together with effects on invertebrate and soil microbial populations.
Project Documents
• Final Report : Practical techniques to increase the biodiversity of agriculturally improved grassland   (71k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2004

Cost: £477,035
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Natural Environment Research Council
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship