Many habitats have been lost during the intensification of farming in the UK and there are fewer and fewer wild meadows left. Wild meadows support many macro-invertebrate species and should therefore be supported by agri-envrionment schemes. However in a critique of the most wide-spread scheme in the UK, Entry Level Stewardship (ELS), Plantlife states that: “80% of threatened lowland meadow flowers are not supported by ELS options nor are 72% of threatened upland meadow flowers”. These figures demnstrate that current schemes are ineffective in protecting wild meadows. (http://www.plantlife.org.uk/our_work/policy/agriculture/)
Fast forward to today and over 97% of wildflower meadows have been lost since the 1930s, that’s a startling 7.5 million acres (3 million hectares). Species-rich grassland now only covers a mere 1% of the UK’s land area. And what remains is mostly scattered fragments of just a few acres and vulnerable to disappearing under the plough. The seriousness and causes of the decline has been outlined in a report by the charity Plantlife.