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Changes in lowland grassland management: effects on invertebrates and birds (old BD0910) - BD1435(1)

The majority of studies examining the effects of recent agricultural intensification on biodiversity have focused on arable systems. This project will aim to assess effects of changes in lowland grassland management introduced in recent decades (such as increased chemical fertilizer usage and silage production) on biodiversity, with particular focus on the quality of contemporary grassland as a habitat for invertebrates and birds. Data will be collected from 2 fields, one cut and one grazed, from 24 study farms classified into 3 groups as follows: high input fields on 8 farms supporting intensive livestock (dairy) systems; fields on 8 moderately intensive (beef and sheep) farms; and low/zero input fields on 8 extensively managed farms. Vegetation structure, flora composition, surface and soil invertebrate communities and frequency of bird visits in summer and winter will be recorded for each field. In addition, an extensive survey will be conducted by the British Trust for Ornithology on the bird populations of approximately 100 farms in order to evaluate the relative validity of data obtained from the study farms. Data will be integrated with the findings of other studies with the aim of assessing relationships between grassland management and availability of food resources (seeds and invertebrates) to birds. Management guidelines will be developed for enhancing invertebrate communities and increasing food resources for birds within lowland grassland systems. These guidelines will be relevant to the development and modification of agri-environment schemes and initiatives.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : Changes in lowland grassland management: effects on invertebrates and birds   (437k)
• ANX - Annex : Annex - Changes in lowland grassland management: effects on invertebrates and birds   (7836k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 1998

To: 2003

Cost: £613,850
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Institute of Grassland and Environment Research (IGER), British Trust For Ornithology, CABI Bioscience
Agricultural Land              
Environmental Protection              
Fields of Study
Environmental Stewardship