Posted 9th Jan 2018
Humans have been producing crops and raising livestock in the UK for thousands of years now
During this period, wildlife has moved into the farmed landscape to make the most of the riches it provides, including flower-filled field margins, bushy hedgerows, reed-lined ponds and seed-filled stubbles.
Decline of traditional farming
However, the decline of traditional farming methods and the rise of agricultural intensification has seen a rapid dip in the wildlife that had previously been associated with our farmed environment. These traditional methods included hedgelaying, rotational and diverse cropping, seasonal grazing, and leaving winter stubble and field margins, even though they provided many benefits for wildlife, the environment and food production.
Creating a living landscape
Farmers are incredibly important when it comes to looking after our countryside and wildlife. When managed sensitively, farmland can support a significant number of species, which include barn owls, brown hares, cornflowers and bumblebees. In fact, as our natural habitats become fragments, well-managed farmland provides a vital link between protected wildlife sites and helping creatures to move about freely and forming a giant patchwork of natural spaces - A Living Landscape.
Typical farmland wildlife includes:
Harvest mouse, bank vole, field vole, brown hare, stoat, weasel, meadow brown butterfly, marbled white butterfly, skylark, barn owl, kestrel, yellowhammer, corn bunting, lapwing, wood pigeon, meadow pipit, little owl, linnet, whitethroat, cornflower, corn chamomile, poppy, oxeye daisy, corncockle, cowslip, hawthorn, blackthorn
Image courtesy of Steve Davis - information and text courtesy of The Wildlife Trusts