Monitoring the condition of grasslands

The purpose of these projects is to monitor the effects of grassland management techniques such as conservation grazing, mowing and others involved in the restoration of such habitats, in the reserve compartment in question.

They assess whether or not the vegetation of the grassland feature exists in zones within the compartment and then stratify sampling accordingly to allow the condition of the dominant flora (one of the key attributes of the grassland) to be monitored as an on-going project.

The projects gather data frequently enough to track the ‘trajectory’ of the composition of the developing grassland communities and establish the longer term trends in the grassland condition; these longer term trends form the basis of management plan objectives.

Much of this work has been developed on reserves in the Northamptonshire Limestone and John Clare Country, such as Collyweston Quarries and Old Sulehay, and then rolled out to other grasslands in the Nene Valley.