In a moment we'll be getting into the detail of what you can do on your farm. Before we do that, here are some quick guiding principles for Farm Wildlife.
Think Landscape Scale
Consider How Your Different Actions Work Together
Maintain; Restore; Create
Most wildlife operate at scales larger than individual farms. Management targeted at priority species is most effective when considered at a larger scale.
Many species require different habitats at different times in their lifecycle. A mosaic of habitats in the local landscape is more likely to provide all of these needs.
The first priority is to look after existing wildlife habitats on the farm. Look to create new habitats on less productive land to meet the needs of local priority species.
Increase Habitat Diversity At Every Level
Use New Habitats to Blur the Edges
How Much Habitat is Enough?
More biodiversity will usually come with diversity of management at every level. Habitat managed in a range of ways will hold more biodiversity.
A gradation of scrub to grassland at the edge of woodland or a margin of grassland next to hedgerows can create micro-habitats where a variety of species can thrive.
On arable farmland, it has been proven that managing between 5 and 10% of land in the right way can make a huge difference for wildlife.
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.