Condition of UK Lowland Grassland Habitats

 

The condition of UK lowland grassland habitats has been assessed using Common Standards Monitoring Guidance for Lowland Grasslands. This involves making an assessment of individual sites using a series of habitat characteristics or attributes and standardised condition categories.

 

Sites are judged to be in favourable condition when the objectives for the habitat are being met. Sites with habitat that is in an unsatisfactory state are classed as in unfavourable condition. Where this is the case, a judgement is made as to whether the habitat is: (i) recovering – moving towards the desired state; (ii) declining – moving away from the desired state; or (iii) no-change – neither improving nor declining. Sites are classed as destroyed (partially or completely) when the habitat is no longer present and there is no prospect of being able to restore it.

 

Condition on designated sites

 

The tables below summarise information on the condition of lowland grassland habitats at a UK-level as reported in 2006-07.

 

On sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs and SACs, the majority of the four main habitat types were either in a favourable or an unfavourable recovering condition. Nevertheless, a sizeable percentage of each was unfavourable and did not show signs of recovery.

 

Information from SACs on lowland grassland habitats recognised under the EU Habitats Directive showed that the condition of these types varied greatly. Although in most cases most of the habitat was in favourable or unfavourable recovering condition, for H6510 Lowland hay meadows most was unfavourable with no signs of recovery.

 

Since 2006-07 the condition of some lowland grassland habitats has improved (e.g. see The State of the Natural Environment 2008).

 

Tables of condition of UK Lowland Grassland Habitats

 

Click on the habitat links in the table for details – based on data from the Common Standards Monitoring for Designated Sites: First Six Year Report (2006) and the 2nd UK Report on Implementation of the Habitats Directive (2007)

 

Sites designated as SSSI/ASSIs

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Fens and marshes - lowland [including purple moor grass and rush pastures]

41%

21%

37%

1%

Neutral grasslands

42%

26%

31%

1%

Acid grasslands - lowland

38%

32%

27%

3%

Calcareous grasslands - lowland

29%

40%

30%

1%

 

Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC)

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

Destroyed or part destroyed

Neutral grasslands

38%

25%

37%

-

Calcareous grasslands - lowland

27%

54%

17%

2%

Fens and marshes - lowland [includes purple moor grass and rush pastures]

18%

39%

43%

-

Acid grasslands - lowland

-

100%

-

 

Sites designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC) – broken down into EU Habitats Directive Annex I types

 

Favourable

Unfavourable recovering

Unfavourable not recovering

H2330 Inland dunes with open Corynephorus and Agrostis grasslands 100% - -
H6130 Calaminarian grasslands of the Violetalia calaminariae [most of this habitat in Scotland occurs in the uplands] 53% 31% 16%
H6510 Lowland hay meadows (Alopecurus pratensis, Sanguisorba officinalis)  32% - 68%
H6410 Molinia meadows on calcareous, peaty or clayey-silt-laden soils (Molinion caeruleae 27% 55% 18%

H6210 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies: on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia)

(including H6211 Semi-natural dry grasslands and scrubland facies: on calcareous substrates (Festuco-Brometalia) important orchid sites)

[a small part of this habitat occurs in the uplands]

1% 95% 4%
H6520 Mountain hay meadows  - 100%  -

(all tables created July 2010)