Biodiversity of Grassland Webinar Series - 2021

16 Dec 2020

The new UK Agriculture Act is the basis for radical change in the way grassland livestock farming is supported. In the 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 farms apply it to deliver results at sufficient scale while maintaining food production and a viable business?

BSAS, BGS and the Stapledon Trust have joined forces to launch a brand new two-part webinar series – ‘Biodiversity of Grassland’,  to help raise the profile and activate discussion on Diversity in Grasslands, with a specific focus on the British Isles. 

Webinar 1: ‘The science: what is the state of grassland biodiversity and how might it be increased?’

Tuesday 26th January

Dr Lisa Norton, Land Use Group, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, Lancaster: Grassland biodiversity in the UK: status, trends, and prospects.

Lisa led the large Countryside Survey project and is currently studying semi-improved grasslands and leys in livestock and arable systems.  She is uniquely placed to give an overview of grassland diversity, the factors driving it and the potential for increasing it.

Prof Robin Pakeman, James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen: Plants, invertebrates, and birds in upland grassland: effects of grazing management

Robin will draw on his own and other research, including the 18-year experiment at Glenfinglas, to identify the impact of management on gains and losses in biodiversity and carbon.

Dr Will Peach, Head of Conservation Science for England & Wales, Royal Society for Protection of Birds: Management of Iowland grassland for invertebrates and birds.

Research carried out by Will and his colleagues shows how biodiversity can be greatly increased on improved grassland and livestock farms.

Webinar 2 – ‘Implementation: how policy and practice could reverse biodiversity decline.’

Tuesday 2nd February

Clare Pinches, Principal Science Analyst, Natural England: Development of policies to conserve and increase biodiversity in grassland.

Clare has been active in monitoring, evaluation, design, and delivery of agri-environment schemes for over 17 years.  She will discuss the success of past and current schemes and policies relevant to grassland and suggest how these could be improved in the future.

Ian Boyd, Cotswold Beef & ianboydphotography.co.uk, Whittington Lodge Fm, Cheltenham: A profitable farm rich in wildlife

Conventional arable until 15 years ago, Ian’s farm has evolved into a mixed organic system with species-rich permanent grassland and herbal leys in rotation.  His Hereford cattle are grown and finished with no concentrate feed and all the meat is sold via a box scheme with Pasture for Life branding.

Chris Clark, Nethergill Associates: maximum sustainable output: making nature a stakeholder in a profitable business

Chris is a farmer, business consultant and England chair of the Nature Friendly Farming Network.  In 2019 he published Less is More, based on 43 upland farm businesses. It showed that, in seeking high output, most were incurring excessive and unnecessary cost and making little or no profit.  Chris will suggest how businesses might survive and thrive by delivering biodiversity and other public goods as well as quality food.

To register your place at either session, please click here