Home > Content > Paper published: Recovering lost hay meadows: An overview of floodplain-meadow restoration projects in England and Wales

Paper published: Recovering lost hay meadows: An overview of floodplain-meadow restoration projects in England and Wales

Restoration of natural habitats plays an important role in nature conservation. After 30 years of 19 efforts to restore species-rich floodplain meadows, most of which had been lost to alternative landuses during the preceding half century, the extent and level of restoration success in the UK remained unknown. A survey of floodplain meadow-restoration projects across England and Wales from 2016-22 2018 allowed evaluation of restoration progress on 163 sites nationwide. 
 
Restoration success was measured by floristic composition, species richness and balance of functional types in plant communities. To identify factors affecting restoration success, their state prior to restoration, restoration technique, site ownership and quality of ongoing management were analysed. The survey revealed that 25% of restoration sites demonstrated expected success, achieved mainly by private landowners. Restoration failed or showed very poor progress on another 15% of sites, managed predominantly by public or charitable organisations. The remaining sixty percent of the sites showed some signs of improvement.  The degree of restoration success showed no significant correlation to the state of the site prior to restoration, or to the restoration method applied. Ownership of the site and site management both influenced restoration success.  The degree of success appeared to depend on the consistency and sufficiency of the restoration management. 

Download/read the whole paper here 

Access the final published version in the Journal for Nature Conservation here, if you are able to.