Farmland, Pastureland & Hedgerows Management Advice

Image credit: Amy Lewis

Have a look below for advice on managing farmland, pastureland and hedgerows for the benefit of wildlife, and for information on why this is so important

A healthy natural environment, where farmland is producing food but also bursting with wildlife, underpins sustainable farming systems. The health of our habitats and soils are linked to the ability of our land to keep sustaining us and producing the food we need to live.

See below for information on managing farmland, hedgerows, small pastures and field margins, as well as advice on choosing livestock.

Farmland Management - Hertfordshire Wildlife Trust

Firstly, why is it so important for farmers to manage their land for wildlife? Nicholas Buxton farms the Easneye Estate, which lies alongside the Wildlife Trust’s Amwell Nature Reserve. He has an impressive track record for wildlife conservation and offers a case study for farmers who are unsure of the benefits. 


Ok, so you've read the case study, now see below for information on how you can manage your own land for the benefit of wildlife.
 

Farming is such an important use of land in Hertfordshire. Farmers are the stewards of the majority of the local ecosystems in the area. There are lots of opportunities to restore nature and agri-environment funding schemes are available to help.

When building a Living Landscape across farmland,the key is to choose appropriate measures for different locations and to ensure they join up, to maximise habitat connectivity across both individual and neighbouring farms

Hertfordshire Wildlife Trust offers a full list of practical ideas to help wildlife on farmland, and in other areas, in the form of a downloadable guide, called 'How to build a Living Landscape'.

 

Hedgerow Management - Devon Wildlife Trust

With nectar-rich blossom in the spring, insects buzzing in the dense thickets in summer and red berries abound in autumn, hedgerows provide wildlife with a rich larder. In fact, they are so good for wildlife that 130 UK BAP (Biodiversity Action Plan) priority species are associated with them.

Devon Wildlife Trust has been working with Culm landowners since 2008 to help bring neglected hedgerows back into a sustainable management cycle.

The effects of this can be seen at a landscape scale and the knock on effects not only include greatly improved hedge habitat for a wealth of wildlife, but a very positive benefit to the local economy in terms of labour and timber by-products.  

Management of Small Pastures - Kent Wildlife Trust

As part of the wider farmed landscape, pastures have their part to play in providing habitat for a range of species. 

They can provide nesting sites for birds such as skylarks, a source of invertebrates on which birds can feed their chicks, cover for brown hares and habitat for over-wintering invertebrates. 

Pastures which are botanically diverse (‘species-rich grassland’) can provide a source of nectar and pollen for insects such as bumblebees and butterflies, and plants on which invertebrates can lay their eggs.

The downloadable information sheet from Kent Wildlife Trust gives lots of information for land owners, from increasing the botanical diversity to deciding which livestock to use for grazing.

 

 

Field Margins - Kent Wildlife Trust

Grassland buffer strips can provide a vital link for wildlife between areas of grassland and woodland, and are particularly valuable in areas of predominantly arable farmland. Cultivated margins can also provide a unique opportunity to help rare and threatened arable plants.

From an economic point of view, there can also be benefits from making use of less productive parts of a field. 

The downloadable information sheet from Kent Wildlife Trust gives information on the different types of margins, how to combine them, and what the benefits are. 

 

 

Choosing Livestock - Kent Wildlife Trust

The decision to graze a site can be fraught with difficulties and will depend partly on the nature of your site and what you are trying to achieve.

However, it will also depend on whether you can find a willing grazier to put his or her livestock on the site and at a time of year which suits you, or whether you are planning to buy your own livestock.

This information sheet from Kent Wildlife Trust will help you to understand these difficulties and explain how to navigate issues such as legislation.