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Providing evidence to improve practice

Individual study: Five years of agri-environment schemes increase the proportion of typical meadow species, but not the number of plant species, on agricultural grasslands in the Czech Republic

Published source details

Holubec V. & Vymyslicky T. (2009) Botanical monitoring of grasslands after the adoption of agro-environmental arrangements. Grassland Science in Europe, 14, 128-131


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

Convert or revert arable land to permanent grassland Farmland Conservation

A site comparison study from 2004 to 2008 in the Czech Republic (Holubec & Vymyslický 2009) found that one arable reversion field had the lowest number of plant species out of 47 grassland sites managed under different agri-environment schemes. Only five plant species were recorded over five years of monitoring on the arable reversion site, compared to a maximum of 26 plant species at other sites. No increase in species richness was observed during the monitoring period. The agri-environment management allowed up to 60 kg Nitrogen/ha fertilizer, two cuts and cattle grazing. Forty-seven grassland sites were monitored in May/June and October each year from 2004 to 2008. All plant species on each site were recorded, and plant diversity measured in a permanent 3 x 3 m quadrat.

 

Reduce management intensity on permanent grasslands (several interventions at once) Farmland Conservation

A replicated trial from 2004 to 2008 in the Czech Republic (Holubec & Vymyslický 2009) found that the number of plant species did not increase or decrease over five years of monitoring on grasslands under various agri-environment schemes, but the proportion of weedy nitrogen-loving species, such as nettle Urtica dioica, fell relative to typical meadow species. This change was considered a botanical improvement. Forty-seven grassland sites were monitored in May/June and October each year from 2004 to 2008. Sixteen sites were managed under ‘ecological agriculture’ and nine under grassland management agri-environment schemes. These allowed up to 60 kg N/ha fertilizer, two cuts and cattle grazing. Nine sites were wet and peaty meadows, on which no fertilizer was allowed. Twelve sites were known locations of nesting corncrake Crex crex. One site was an arable field reverted to grassland.