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A re-survey to assess the effectiveness of Higher Level Stewardship for maintaining and restoring species-rich grasslands - LM0443

Management of species-rich grasslands is a priority under the England Biodiversity Strategy (Biodiversity 2020) with several grassland types identified as Priority Habitats for action. Agri-environment schemes are the major vehicle for delivering management to conserve and restore high quality grasslands with several options available under Higher Level Stewardship (HLS). This project will undertake a resurvey of a sample of approximately 130 parcels being managed under options HK6 (grassland maintenance) and HK7 (grassland restoration). The results of this re-survey will provide an assessment on the effectiveness of management under these options and help to identify how the vegetation is changing in response to management intervention. This evidence could also help to inform the design and enhancement of future agri-environment options.

The project will:

•Provide an updated assessment of the condition of a sample of species-rich grassland sites that are have been in HLS management for 8-9 years.
•Compare the current condition of the sample under HK6 and HK7.
•Assess change in condition of the sample as a whole and compare trends (i) under maintenance/restoration management regimes and (ii) in relation to the initial condition (i.e. whether BAP habitat was initially present or not).
•For each site, assess the direction of change and evaluate progress against the Indicators of Success set in the agreement.
•Gather and evaluate management, soil and other relevant information (e.g. use of supplements and capital works, restoration approaches) and explore the reasons for any change in vegetation condition observed.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0443 Resurvey of grasslands 2014 Final Report   (5070k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2015

Cost: £68,910
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Belinda Wheeler