Agricultural intensification within Britain has been responsible for the destruction of semi-natural habitats and the subsequent loss of species. Opportunities have become available to reinstate such communities through agri-environmental initiatives e.g. the Environmentally Sensitive Areas (ESA) scheme. Lowland wet grasslands represent a severely declining habitat which are nonetheless a major element in eight English ESAs, where they have been targeted for protection, enhancement and re-creation. However, the continued agricultural usage of the land places constraints, both ecological and financial, upon the conservation of such habitats. This paper outlines the effects of intensive agriculture upon wet grasslands, the justification for their protection, and how targets for their conservation might be derived. Techniques and costs involved in the restoration of grassland are discussed. Finally the cost and effectiveness of re-creating lowland wet grassland are considered using the example of an ex-arable site within the upper Thames tributaries ESA.
Journal of Environmental Management – Elsevier
Published: Feb 1, 1999
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