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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Botanical survey of grassland in the Shropshire Hills, Blackdown Hills and SW Peak ESAs

Published source details

Defra (2005) Botanical survey of grassland in the Shropshire Hills, Blackdown Hills and SW Peak ESAs. Defra MA01013 report.


This study is summarised as evidence for the intervention(s) shown on the right. The icon shows which synopsis it is relevant to.

Maintain species-rich, semi-natural grassland Farmland Conservation

A randomized, replicated before-and-after trial in England (Defra 2005b) found that management under the Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme broadly maintained species richness on enclosed rough grassland in the Blackdown Hills, Shropshire Hills and South West Peak Environmentally Sensitive Areas. In all three, the range of vegetation communities was similar between baseline surveys (in 1994-1995) and resurveys in May-August 2003. The number of species in survey plots was also similar between years, except in the South West Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area, where the average number of species per plot declined by 1.5 (to 23). The number of species at a finer within-plot scale declined in the Shropshire Hills and South West Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area, but not by an extent to indicate loss of ecological quality. While the results suggested that management prescriptions were broadly maintaining species richness, they appeared less effective in encouraging desirable species to colonize improved/semi-improved grasslands. There were 22 replicate sites in the Blackdown Hills, 29 in the Shropshire Hills and 38 in the South West Peak Environmentally Sensitive Area.