Defra - Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Science Search

Science and Research Projects

Return to Science Search homepage   Return to Search List

Monitoring of Entry Level Stewardship (ELS) Option EK21: Legume and herb-rich swards - LM0447

Option EK21, and its organic equivalent OK21, are new options introduced in January 2013 to improve the biodiversity value of productive grasslands and are informed by the WEB project (BD5208). The rationale is that swards sown with a much wider range of grasses, legumes and robust herbs than would normally be sown in commercial practice can be established on land of moderate or high fertility to support commercially attractive levels of livestock production without N fertiliser whilst also delivering a greatly increased abundance and diversity of pollinators and other invertebrates, and improvements to soil structure.

There is therefore a need to monitor the 2013 uptake of the EK21 option. The results will be used to inform future deployment and targeting of this option within Countryside Stewardship, potential refinement of eligibility and prescriptions, reporting of progress towards meeting Biodiversity 2020 objectives and ultimately design of new options or measures in a future scheme.
The objectives are to establish:

a) How agreement-holders have implemented these options and fitted them into their farming systems.
b) How successfully swards have been established, and how well they persist.
c) From management, soil and other relevant information, the reasons for the vegetation condition observed.
d) What contribution this option is making to ecological networks, particularly for pollinators and other invertebrates, and hence what benefits are likely for delivery of Biodiversity 2020 and adaptation of wildlife to climate change.
Project Documents
• FRP - Final Report : LM0447 FINAL REPORT   (3546k)
• TPS - Two Page Summary : LM0447 2pg sum FINAL   (372k)
Time-Scale and Cost
From: 2014

To: 2015

Cost: £94,846
Contractor / Funded Organisations
Centre For Ecology and Hydrology (CEH)