Lowland wet grasslands support diverse communities of plant and animal species. The broad definition used for this report is: “managed land, periodically inundated by water, predominantly of permanent grassland and fen meadows within a flat area with a network of ditches containing standing water. Such areas may also include some wetter emergent swamp communities, but not extensive areas of emergent hydrophytes (e.g. Typha and Phragmites). Lowland wet grasslands, including grazing marshes, normally occur in lowland river valleys and behind sea defences. Salt marshes are not included”. Such grasslands are especially notable for vascular plants, birds (particularly waders and wildfowl) and invertebrates of ditches and ditch margins. They are thus of considerable nature conservation value. The extent and nature conservation value of lowland wet grassland has been dramatically reduced over the last 30 years, principally by agricultural intensification. There is a reasonable documentation of the extent and nature conservation interest for the larger areas of coastal grazing marsh and river valley grassland but, at an all-England scale, there are major gaps in basic information on the distribution, extent and nature conservation interest of wet grassland. This report forms part of a resource survey project which maps all areas of probable lowland wet grassland exceeding 10 hectares in England and collates information on grassland biota as an inventory. Results were used to develop a national strategy for the conservation of lowland wet grassland. Volume 1: Biota Reference Inventory consists of six individually bound parts: East Region; North East Region; North West Region; South Region; South West Region; West Midlands Region. Volume 2: Inventory of biota: main report.
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