Biodiversity in Grasslands Webinar 1 Speakers

13 Jan 2021

The new UK Agriculture Act is the basis for radical change in the way grassland livestock farming is supported. In future farmers will only receive public money in return for delivery of ‘public goods’. That means, primarily, biodiversity and other environmental benefits. But do we have the science base to underpin such a policy, and can farmers apply it to deliver results at sufficient scale whilst maintaining food production and a viable business?

BSAS, BGS and Stapledon Trust have organised two Webinars on Biodiversity in Grassland focused on the UK to inform and activate discussion.

WEBINAR 1 – TUESDAY 26 JANUARY – 17:00 to 18:30 (UK time)

The science: what is the state of grassland biodiversity and how might it be increased?



Steve is a grassland eco-agronomist. He previously worked in grassland survey, research and consultancy, including for ADAS, with a primary focus on the environment from the 1990s. He was also national grassland specialist for Natural England for 11 years, with particular responsibility for agri-environment schemes, prior to retirement in 2017

Steve is a past-president of the British Grassland Society, former member of the British Society of Animal Science, founder member of the British Ecological Society Agricultural Ecology Group and a trustee of Stapledon Memorial Trust.




Grassland biodiversity in the UK: status, trends and prospects: The presentation will be looking at the results from the UK Countryside Survey (CS), a nationally representative survey of GB countryside which has taken place five times since 1978. The results provide a picture of the grassland status and plant biodiversity over recent decades.

Lisa is a senior scientist in the Land Use Group at CEH where she has worked as a plant/landscape ecologist for over 20 years. Her research focuses on monitoring and management of natural capital for ecosystem service (ES) delivery and she works closely with social and economic scientists and stakeholders in interdisciplinary approaches towards sustainable environmental management of farmland. She led the Countryside Survey programme for 10 years and continues to lead work with Defra on the use of CS data under the current Memorandum of Agreement between Defra and CEH. She is PI on a Global Food Security funded project; Sustainable economic and ecological grazing systems – Learning from innovative practitioners, and is currently working on a range of other projects including SARIC Sheep on Arable, Defra Clean Growth, the ELM’s Test and Trials evaluation and with an Innovative Farmers Group investigating how to maintain diverse swards on permanent grassland in Cumbria.



Plants, invertebrates and birds in upland grassland: effects of grazing management: The presentation will focus on results from a long-term and large-scale experiment looking at how changing grazing management cascades through a mosaic of upland vegetation types. It will address those groups that change slowly (plants) and those that change quickly (invertebrates and birds). It will also stray onto the potential impacts of trees on biodiversity and carbon.

Robin is a plant ecologist based at the James Hutton Institute in Aberdeen. His current research focusses on three main areas: (1) understanding the drivers of long-term vegetation change, (2) the management and restoration of habitats for biodiversity and (3) the use of plant functional traits t understand how the effects of management cascade through ecosystems to influence ecosystem function and different trophic levels. He has worked on a wide range of ecosystems, but in recent years has focussed mainly on upland grasslands, sand dunes and machair, and arable areas. He is a Visiting Professor at the University of Liverpool, a Chartered Ecologist and a Member of the Chartered Institute of Ecology and Environmental Management.



Management of lowland grassland for invertebrates and birds: The presentation will focus on the measures, including land management options, that can be taken on livestock farms to boost wildlife.

Will is Head of Conservation Science for England & Wales at the RSPB.  He works within the RSPB’s Centre for Conservation Science which aims to develop practical solutions to the many conservation challenges we face.  Over more than 20 years at the RSPB, Will has worked on variety of issues including the causes of decline of priority bird species, impacts of neonicotinoid pesticides on birds, testing potential conservation solutions for farmland wildlife and the evaluation of agri-environment schemes. His talk will identify a number of evidence-based management options that aim to boost wildlife on livestock farms.



For further details and to register your FREE place please click here

Webinar 2 will be held on Tuesday 2nd February at 17:00 to 18:30 (UK time) where the focus will be on Implementation: how policy and practice could reverse biodiversity decline. To be Chaired by Kairsty Topp and speakers include Clare Pinches, Ian Boyd, Chris Clark and Drew McConnel BGS President. For further details on Webinar 1 click here