Farmland and grassland

Priority habitats: Arable field margins, Grazing marsh, Hedgerows and hedgerow trees, Lowland calcareous grassland and Lowland meadows.

Greater Lincolnshire is one of the UK’s most important agricultural areas and farming has been the dominant land use here for many centuries. DEFRA’s 2009 survey estimated that 81% of Lincolnshire County is farmed, and that 71% is ploughed annually (arable, horticulture and temporary grassland) – compared to 39% for England. Consequently availability of semi-natural habitat is below the national average, and there is a need for better delivery for biodiversity and habitat connectivity within the farmed environment. Wildlife-rich and pastoral grassland is an important element of Greater Lincolnshire's biodiversity. However, this declining resource, including grazing marsh and lowland meadows is being lost to alternative farming systems, urban creep and tourism development.

With the appropriate incentives and well-designed measures, the decline of farm biodiversity can be reversed with stewardship agreements providing the largest incentive.

Vision for Greater Lincolnshire's farmland and grassland:

  • An actively and sustainably farmed countryside that benefits biodiversity and the farming community. Habitat diversity has increased.
  • Land use is a mosaic of productive land, within healthy ecological networks of semi-natural and managed habitats, which can meet food supply demands without the loss of associated species.
  • The decline in important habitats has been halted and reversed and habitats are restored and created on a landscape scale, with appropriate traditional management techniques in place – especially the use of livestock.
  • Hedges, hedgerow trees, watercourses and farm ponds are managed for biodiversity, with suitable protection from farm operations. Linear habitats are encouraged and sympathetically managed as biodiversity corridors and stepping stones.
  • Buffer zones and other measures are adopted to reduce erosion and pollution of the wider environment.
    Use of pesticides and other chemical/nutrient inputs have been reduced, resulting in less diffuse pollution.
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