SoNaRR2020: Coastal margins
This chapter assesses the progress towards the...
Semi-natural grasslands dominated the Welsh lowland landscape less than 100 years ago.
They declined by more than 90% during the latter part of the 20th century.
The decline was driven by land-use policies focused on agricultural production.
Remaining areas of the ecosystem are often small and highly fragmented.
Semi-natural grasslands occupy about 9% of the land area of Wales. They are mostly found within the farmed countryside, associated with low-intensity management, including nil or very low usage of man-made fertilisers. They are usually grazed by livestock for the production of meat or other animal products.
Most ecosystem services are higher in semi-natural grasslands than in agriculturally improved grassland, particularly those relating to biological diversity, crop pollination, carbon storage, pollution control and cultural heritage.
This chapter highlights the opportunities to reduce the fragmentation of semi-natural grassland and improve ecosystem resilience. The opportunities include the increased protection of grassland sites, the restoration of degraded and neglected grasslands, and the creation of new areas of grasslands.
Maintaining and enhancing semi-natural grassland conserves soil carbon and benefits biodiversity, thus contributing to efforts to tackle both the nature and climate emergencies.
The Semi-natural grasslands chapter's evidence needs are included in the overall evidence needs table.