Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Project List

Priority grassland habitat condition - resurvey - LM0466

In 2002/2003 baseline extent and condition data were collected for a sample of approximately 500 non-statutory priority grasslands in England to enable future assessment of loss rates and changes in condition to be made on re-survey (Hewins et al. 2005).
This project represents the first re-survey of the original baseline and will provide vital evidence on the current conservation status of priority grasslands outside of SSSIs, and the impact and effectiveness of interventions under Environmental Stewardship in conserving them.
The objectives are to:
a) Describe changes in botanical quality, condition and extent of priority grassland in the sample since the baseline survey.
b) Determine the extent of losses within the sample to (a) arable, (b) development (e.g. construction of buildings, gravel extraction) and (c) other
c) Assess the impact and effectiveness of interventions under the Classic Schemes and Environmental Stewardship in maintaining, improving and restoring grassland condition compared to the non-agreement control. This will include:

o Determine whether grasslands under recent scheme agreements have been targeted to the right option (e.g. based on what we understood their botanical status to be in 2002/03 and by assessment of Farm Environment Plan (FEP)/Baseline Evaluation of Higher Tier Agreement (BEHTA) data where the grassland has gone into HLS or CS).
o Determine whether grasslands under agreement have delivered or are on track to deliver desired outcomes? (e.g. maintained, improved condition on existing Priority Habitat; achieving closer similarity to PH status – key 2A and B, and/or best fit to qualifying NVC types and assessment of suitability of management prescriptions).
o Explore whether previous agreement status in the 2002/2003 survey influenced subsequent outcome delivery? (e.g. continued maintenance or improvements in condition).
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2017

To: 2019

Cost: £77,500
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Belinda Wheeler
Environmental Stewardship              
Natural Environment