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This project has four goals:

  • To help establish best practise through use of case studies to promote restoration and re-creation schemes to increase the extent of floodplain meadows by 200 ha by 2015.
  • To assist partners with the development and revision of management plans, as and when they come up for review, by drawing on relevant scientific data.
  • To collaborate with appropriate partners to disseminate knowledge to managers and society as a whole.
  • To advance scientific knowledge on meadows especially with regard to global change and its implications for nature conservation.

Watch a video summarising our work here http://www.open.ac.uk/research/main/research-impact/protecting-plants-floodplain-meadows

and here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u8E_PTT0Dro

Specific Objectives

• To instigate an annual monitoring programme on the best remaining examples of floodplain meadows. This will to increase our knowledge and understanding of the ecosystem and improve our ability to conserve and recreate floodplain meadows. These habitats provide us with an early-warning system for threats to conservation and provide nationwide information on the response of ecosystems to the wider environment (e.g. atmospheric nitrogen deposition, altered rainfall distribution, increased flooding.)

  • To facilitate a forum of stakeholders involved in the restoration of floodplain meadows, in order to develop guidance and share best practice.
  • To promote consistency of long term monitoring schemes linked to environmental variables across existing floodplain meadows and restoration schemes, thereby establishing and promoting best practise.
  • To develop a programme of short informative courses by 2009/10, using floodplain meadows as a focus to raise awareness of conservation issues amongst site managers and the wider community and to convene sessions at appropriate scientific meetings.
  • To maintain a national database of survey data and interpret the data to address both scientific and management questions.
  • To interpret new information on habitat management (e.g. concept of hydrological units, catchment sensitive farming initiative) in the context of floodplain meadow sites.
  • To develop links with interested parties in other European countries that manage and study similar meadow systems.
  • To publish research in a range of journals to reach a variety of readers.

Outputs from the 3 year project

  1. A unique dataset describing the environmental perturbations experienced by floodplain meadows and their responses.
  2. Scientifically based guidance for the future conservation management of floodplain meadows and their restoration on former or new sites.
  3. A demonstration site, open to all involved in the conservation and restoration of floodplain meadows (location to be confirmed).
  4. A consortium of government agencies, NGOs and other parties interested in the conservation and restoration of floodplain meadows, which meets annually at a workshop to discuss findings and to develop strategy.
  5. Training days for managers involved with floodplain meadow conservation to raise awareness of the important variables and how they can be controlled.
  6. Residential courses for anyone wishing to learn more about meadows and their management.
  7. Annual reports to consortium members describing progress and summarising results.
  8. Young researchers trained in ecological and biogeochemical sciences, with a multi-disciplinary approach to nature conservation.
  9. Several general interest articles on meadow conservation for publications such as British Wildlife and Farmers Weekly, plus several high impact journal papers describing the scientific element of the study.
  10. One or more fully planned and costed restoration schemes that would be submitted by partner organisations to funders such as the National Lottery.