The Grasslands Trust, founded in 2002 to reverse the decline of wildlife-rich grasslands in England, says that the small remaining areas of semi-natural grasslands are undervalued by society yet provide important public goods.
In a new report, ‘Nature’s Tapestry, The story of England’s grasslands and why not all grass is green,’ the Trust lists the wide range of environmental goods and services natural grasslands offer, including:
- Carbon storage
- Flood prevention
- Water purification
- Crop pollination
They say that intensively managed agricultural grasslands provide one service: cheap food, and that there is a danger that taking a purely economic approach to valuing semi-natural grassland runs the risk of intangible values being ignored.
Their recommendations include:
- Reform of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) in the long term so that payments are made for the provision of environmental public goods and protection of the cultural landscape, and targeted to support low-intensity agriculture.
- Short term reform of the CAP to encourage sympathetic management and prevent damage. A premium should be introduced for farmers who commit to maintain their semi-natural grasslands.
- Preparing a comprehensive Grasslands Inventory in England.
- Ensuring any new planning system protects existing semi-natural grasslands from development, and encourages the creation of new areas in new developments.
Lots more interesting facts and details along with case studies in the report which can be viewed at www.grasslands-trust.org