The desirability of collating grassland survey data into an accessible format led English Nature to commence the production of grassland inventories in 1992 following a 3-month pilot project in 1991. The pilot suggested the concept was viable and had external support from organisations operating schemes or involved in habitat conservation such as MAFF and Countryside Commission. It was generally agreed that the inventories should provide an index of sites for which more detailed survey information is held by English Nature or other organisations. The inventories were to be compiled on the basis of administrative counties although it was recognised at an early stage of the project that the data may ultimately need to be converted into the Natural Areas framework being developed by English Nature. For the purposes of inventory production, lowland grassland is defined as enclosed grassland (i.e. occurring below the “moor wall”) mostly located at or below 300m above sea level. Only semi-natural grassland communities have been considered for inclusion in the inventories and these are listed at Annex 1. These include neutral, calcareous and acid grassland, Calaminarian grassland (metallophyte vegetation), fen meadows and rush pasture and selected swamp and mire communities. These are all considered to be of high conservation value. Maritime cliff grassland (SC in the National Vegetation Classification (NVC)), salt marsh (NVCSM) and sand dune grasslands (NVCSD) are normally excluded from the definition. Where surveys provide detailed botanical data but do not specifically allocate vegetation to the NVC, where possible, an interpretation has been made using the NVC volumes.
A printed copy of this old English Nature report is available from our Enquiry Service. Tel: 0845 600 3078 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org