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Managing Grassland and maintaining diversity

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Managing Grassland and maintaining diversity Grassland is found in many areas, such as agricultural lands were a farmer would use it to graze animals or us it for other reasons. Grass land is also found at playing fields and many gardens. Maintaining grassland can include mowing, grazing and even burning, however burning is rarely used. Mowing Mowing is an unselective may of controlling the growth of the plants that are cut by the machine. If cutting is done with a scythe then the heights will not be the same leading to unevenness, this unevenness can provide good habitats for invertebrates or ground nesting birds but the plant growth will not be similar. The cut plant can be used for silage or hay, the removal of the plant means that nutrients have been taken out of the soil; however this can be replaced easily by fertilisers and other chemicals. If mowings are left on the ground they can prevent other plant seeds from reaching the ground and germinating. Grass grown for silage consist of high yielding varieties and is usually aided with fertilises to maximise the crop yield. Mowing for silage usually begins in late April and the followed by two more cuts every six weeks. ...read more.


Trampling by cattle along the edge of ditches creates a marshy muddy area but to much pressure form the trampling is harmful to a region. Horses are much more selective about the type of grass they eat compared to sheep and cattle. Horses can eliminate some species of grass from an area while leaving the rest untouched producing a patchy uneven sward. Wet grasslands Wet grasslands are a part of traditional farming systems, during the summer they grass would be cut and would be used for hay and then grazing and during the winter it would be flooded. These open waters during the winter will attract a range of wildlife including many birds such as lapwing and snipe (waders), ducks and swans. Prolonged flooding may have an undesirable effect on the vegetation and invertebrates in the soil. The area is more attractive to birdlife if there is some variation of the surface features so tat it is suitable for the waders to feed (large amount of edge and pool margin). In many places the agricultural potential for the grassland has been improved but this has also had an adverse effect on the type of habitat and the species related with it. ...read more.


Also more land has been bought for there farms by clearing wood, draining wet lands and ploughed up meadows. Even with intensive farming diversity of wildlife can be improved, for example hedges that can be used as fences by the farmer can also be used as important habitats by birds and other mammals. To do this the hedge is kept thick at the bottom and a reasonable height and trees can also be kept in the hedge. Ponds that are used for drinking by stock or irrigation are excellent habitats for fishes, dragonflies, birds and other plants. To allow for these species to survive well and keep the pond for its agricultural use the water must be kept clear of pollutants and avoiding shading by to many trees. The management for the conservation in the two examples is not economically demanding either and doesn't require much effort to maintain. Farmers also need to make a profit out of their crop as with any other business, there are a number of schemes that are in operation to provide wildlife habitats, or direct funding and advice to farmers to increase profit from crops and increase diversity in species. Examples of these are ESAs (Environmentally Sensitive Areas); set aside scheme, farm woodland scheme and the FWAG (Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group) Words: 256 Total Words: 1257 Reference used: The organism and the environment page 116-124 Keval Varia Biology ...read more.

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