Helping you to help wildlife on your farm
Good conservation management is about understanding the locally important wildlife, choosing the right measures and managing them in the right way. Farm Wildlife has been developed with farmers for farmers.
Our management approach brings together best practice advice from a broad range of wildlife organisations to identify the 6 most important steps for restoring wildlife on your farm.
Why Take Part?
Taking the Farm Wildlife approach won't just help wildlife. Depending on how you choose to implement the advice, you could see much wider benefits across the farm.
Pollinating insects, such as bumblebees, solitary bees and hoverflies are vital for both the pollination of crops and wildflowers.
Healthy and productive soil is the most valuable asset on the farm. Soils are home to over a quarter of living species on earth
Supporting beneficial insects improves biodiversity on the farm and forms part of an integrated approach to pest management
Supporting biodiversity on the farm can also open up opportunities for your business, including diversified income streams and new market opportunities
6 Key Actions...
To help farmland wildlife the most, try to implement a range of advice from these key actions.
Habitats already established on the farm are often the most wildlife-rich. Looking after the existing features on the farm and managing them well should be the priority when providing space for wildlife.
Many native flowering plants depend on farming practices for survival, including rare arable specialists and the wildflower-rich grasslands which were once common-place across the landscape.
Field boundaries perform important functions for the farm, but also provide valuable habitat for wildlife. Well-managed boundary features can support a range of wildlife, as well as connecting habitats across the landscape.
Traditional agriculture provided seed-rich habitats throughout the year that wildlife evolved to exploit. Many birds became farmland specialists, relying on these habitats for food, especially through the winter.
Water is a crucial element for wildlife.
With the right management wet habitats can provide some of the most wildlife-rich areas on farmland.
Small tweaks in the management of the farmed area can deliver benefits to specific species or the overall farmed environment.
Put into practice, the Farm Wildlife approach can deliver real success.
Learn how other farmers have put Farm Wildlife principles into practice
Planning woodland and tree management on an arable farm
RSPB Hope Farm, Cambridgeshire; 181 ha arable farm Aims RSPB Hope Farm seeks to restore biodiversity, whilst maintaining productivity and profitability. As part of this, the RSPB is seeking nature-positive ways of minimising greenhouse gas emissions, adapting to and mitigating climate change. Trees and shrubs can lock up carbon and the aim here is to…Read More
Trees and cattle combine to boost upland wildlife
A case study from Tarnhouse Farm by Ian Ryding, farmland warden Tarnhouse Farm is one of two large upland farms in the North Pennines that form RSPB Geltsdale Nature reserve. It comprises areas of moorland and acid grassland, grazed by hardy native-breed cattle for the benefit of wildlife. The reserve also has remnants of ancient…Read More
Restoring “ghost ponds”
Resurrected ghost pond (c) Carl Sayer Resurrecting Ghost Ponds by the UCL Pond Restoration Research Group and Norfolk Ponds Project A ‘ghost pond’ is an old pond lost to in-filling. Here, drawing on the experiences of the Norfolk Ponds Project, the Pond Restoration Group at University College London (UCL) reveal how to locate, excavate and…Read More
Helping water voles on your land
Author: People’s Trust for Endangered Species Water voles are found throughout the UK. They can thrive in many different wetland habitats in both the lowlands and uplands, such as ditches, ponds and streams. Landowners and farmers are key to helping water voles by creating and maintaining the optimum habitat they need. Why water voles need…Read More
Saving the cirl bunting from extinction in the UK
Author: Lynne Roberts A desperate situation The Cirl Bunting is the UK’s rarest farmland bird. Having once been widespread in southern England and Wales, the UK population of Cirl Buntings suffered a dramatic decline from a peak in the 1930s. In 1989, a national survey recorded just 118 pairs, mostly in the south of Devon.…Read More
Dairy farm creating a buzz
Authors: Gethin Davies (RSPB), Anna Hobbs (BBCT), Stuart Taylor (farmer, Argoed) Dairying can be a challenging sector for farmers and wildlife. Small margins have driven increasing scale, efficiency and specialisation, which has tended to squeeze out people and space for nature. The number of dairy farmers in the UK has declined by two thirds since…Read More
Managing hedges for pollinators
Author: Steven Falk It’s easy to be dismissive of insects, yet about one-third of all the food we consume has required a pollinator to put it there, and by pollinator, I don’t just mean honey bees. Nearly one-quarter of Britain’s 24,000 insect species visit flowers and wild bees, hoverflies and moths are especially important. Even…Read More
Introducing Fair to Nature – a new partner for Farm Wildlife
When we developed the Farm Wildlife approach, we wanted to make sure that the advice was not only simple to follow, but based on the latest evidence so that it would work – both for farmers and for wildlife. A new partner for Farm Wildlife We are therefore delighted to welcome Fair to Nature to…Read More
New research: What limits bumblebee populations on farmland?
Authors: Dr Tom Timberlake and Prof Jane Memmott A new study by Tom Timberlake and colleagues at the University of Bristol shows how important late summer flowers and rural gardens can be for supporting bumblebees on UK farmland. Does this offer an opportunity to devise more targeted agri-environment schemes for pollinators? Pollen and nectar are…Read More
Case study: Reversion of arable land to lowland chalk grassland
Author: Lynne Roberts: The RSPB’s Manor Farm, Newton Tony, Wiltshire Aims and setting Chalk grassland is one of the richest landscapes for wildlife in the UK and is a habitat which has suffered significant losses in past decades. This case study focuses on Manor Farm in Wiltshire, now the operational base of RSPB’s Winterbourne Downs…Read More