A meadow In England with abundant flowers and vegetation Credits: Les Haines
English Heritage’s proposed project of creating or restoring 100 meadows across historic English sites has been welcomed as a botanical breakthrough by conservation groups.
B-Lines officer for Buglife Rachel Richards, said restoring wildflower grasslands, such as meadows, and leaving them to flower throughout summer, was essential in supporting the recovery of wild pollinators.
“These habitats provide a wealth of opportunities for a diversity of invertebrates to thrive, and support plants and other wildlife like birds, mammals, and amphibians,” she said.
Buglife and partners are establishing a network of wildflower-rich grasslands across the UK called B-Lines, and Ms Richards spoke on the benefits this project could bring to B-lines
“Each and every wildflower-rich grassland helps to restore nature. The more sites and the more connected they are, the better – this is what B-Lines is all about!” Ms Richards explained.
“This new and exciting partnership offers a lifeline to 100 key grassland sites and their associated wildlife,” Mr Dunn stated in his comment to the Guardian.
The destruction of grasslands has been claimed by the Natural History Museum as a leading cause for biodiversity loss, and Ms Richards noted the impact of this destruction on invertebrate life.
“Invertebrates need diverse, flower-rich habitats to survive,so many grassland habitats are overgrazed or so regularly cut that plants don’t get a chance to flower and set seed.
“And hence are not providing pollen and nectar for bees, wasps, butterflies, beetles etc and seeds for birds and small mammals,” she explained.
The 100 Meadows project strives to return England’s landscape to how they would have historically looked, prior to factors such as modern farming techniques, and also aims to build awareness of England’s botanical history.
Richards noted the benefits likely to arise from this raised awareness of Britain’s rural past.
“Though not practical to return all of the UK countryside back to this ideal, we do urgently need to make more space for wildlife.
“An awareness of how things used to be could encourage the creation of more wildflower-rich grasslands and the reinstatement of hedgerows, which are now also recognised not just for their biodiversity benefits but for their role in reducing soil erosion and flood alleviation” Ms Richards said.
Continuing, Ms Richards called for the establishment of new ponds:
“Similarly, ponds were once found on most farms, but are now quite rare features in our landscape. Creating new ponds helps aquatic wildlife like dragonflies and water beetles , and benefits livestock too.” she added.