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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Botanical survey of wet grassland in the Avon Valley, Upper Thames Tributaries and Somerset Levels and Moors ESAs

Published source details

Defra (2005) Botanical survey of wet grassland in the Avon Valley, Upper Thames Tributaries and Somerset Levels and Moors ESAs. Defra MA01014 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 replicated before-and-after trial in England (Defra 2005a) found that the Environmentally Sensitive Area scheme maintained extensively-managed permanent pasture and wet grassland/hay meadows in the Avon Valley and Upper Thames Tributaries Environmentally Sensitive Areas, introduced in 1993 and 1995, respectively. The range of vegetation communities in these Environmentally Sensitive Areas was broadly similar between baseline surveys (following introduction) and resurveys in 2003. However, in the Somerset Levels and Moors Environmentally Sensitive Area (baseline surveys in 1993, 1995 and 1998), management under the ‘raised water tier’ of the scheme appeared to be encouraging the formation of less species-rich inundation and rush pasture communities, rather than maintaining species-rich grassland. There were 34 replicate sites in Avon Valley, 39 in Upper Thames Tributaries and 25 in Somerset Levels and Moors Environmentally Sensitive Area.