What a meadow should look like
Sometimes scientists and those who work in biodiversity conservation use words or phrases that many people may not be familiar with. If you find a word or phrase you are unfamiliar with, take a look at the wildflower seed pages glossary which provides definitions for some commonly used terms on this part of our website.
Semi-natural grasslands are valuable habitats which are managed by low-intensity farming. They are some of the most threatened habitats in Ireland. These grasslands are vital to biodiversity, supporting healthy soils and clean water, and a wealth of life including wildflowers, insects, invertebrates, birds, and mammals. They may be managed by grazing or mowing (e.g., traditional hay meadows), but the management is always relatively low intensity. Semi-natural grasslands are existing habitats that should be treasured and protected.
In this video, Dr. Fiona McGowan reveals some of the plants that can be found in a semi-natural grassland.
Here are some pictures of what semi-natural grassland should look like. You can hover over images to get details of the site. Click on the photo to enlarge.
Biodiversity meadows and margins
We use this term to refer to new sites that are aiming to become semi-natural grasslands through appropriate management – usually reduced mowing with cuttings removed. A meadow refers to a larger area (e.g., a field or a lawn), whereas a margin refers to a smaller strip of land such as a roadside verge or the edge of a field set aside for this type of management. They can be managed to be either tall-flowering or short-flowering. These are new habitats that must be created.