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Farm ecology

Farm Biodiversity Plan

There is now an increasing need for large landowners, and farmers, to provide enhancement for wildlife. As a result, farmers are being encouraged to produce efficient food production whilst also providing benefits to the environment so that food is produced in a sustainable way.

Improving farmland biodiversity through successful environmental management will help to ensure the longevity of farmland habitats and wildlife.

The biodiversity within farmland includes the insects, worms and micro-organisms which provide vital ecosystem services, such as the pollination of crops and breaking down of organic matter in the soil. But the biodiversity of farmland also includes birds, bats, reptiles, amphibians and other animals.

Maintaining farmland biodiversity is critical for healthy ecosystems. A number of funding sources exist for improving /managing biodiversity on sites, particularly for farms.

Consumers, and legislation, are becoming increasingly demanding in their requirements surrounding biodiversity. Many farmers are required to produce biodiversity plans in order to ensure that their products are produced to the highest environmental standards and to help them operate more sustainable farming businesses.

Biodiversity Plan Approach

A biodiversity plan needs to include an ecological survey of the site to assess the ecological features on and around the farm, and identify those features which need to be protected and or enhanced to encourage a wide variety of wildlife on farmland.

The main habitat survey can be carried out any time on year, but specialist surveys may be restricted to specific survey period. Phlorum can help to produce a biodiversity plan by identifying management approaches which work for the individual farm business whilst increasing the availability of resources for wildlife, including food and shelter.

Approaches can include:

Habitat surveys

It is important to look after the wildlife habitats which are already established on the farm. An ecological survey of the site is the starting point for any biodiversity plan.

This will help assess what habitats are on or around the site which need protecting. The biodiversity plan will assess these habitats and provide a plan, including timing of works, on how to maintain or improve them.

Field boundaries

Managing field boundaries, including hedges, tree lines and ditches can increase food and shelter for wildlife. Establishing new features can further enhance this.

Varied habitats

Wildlife opportunities can be boosted by providing varied pastures, and flower rich areas, which can support insects, plus other wildlife.

Winter bird food

Supplying a winter food resource for farmland birds. The Team at Phlorum are able assist with developing biodiversity plans for farms, and other landowners.

Development Biodiversity Plan

As well as farms, many infrastructure or development projects are now required to produce biodiversity plans. These provide instructions to the landowner about how the site is to be managed in order to provide biodiversity within the development.

Often these documents are required in order to obtain planning permission. They include detailed descriptions for contractors to manage the land, with timetables of works.

Increasingly, monitoring is required for long term management of these areas.

At Phlorum we are experienced in providing Biodiversity Plans for a range of projects from small residential developments to large energy infrastructure schemes.

Crucially, the biodiversity plans ensure that the development is effective at managing the area for both the client’s required outcome, and biodiversity within the scheme.

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