Grasslands of Wales: A Survey of Lowland Species-rich Grasslands, 1987-2004

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Pioneering the use of the National Vegetation Classification for describing and mapping vegetation at a regional scale, this comprehensive volume provides a unique account of the plant communities in the species-rich lowland grasslands of Wales at the end of the twentieth century, detailing the distribution, concentration, and physical and environmental characteristics of each species.

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Editorial Reviews

John Rodwell
Grasslands of Wales provides an exemplary demonstration of how to make the expert knowledge of professional conservationists available to a wider audience. Soundly scientific, with fascinating detail, it is yet written in an engaging style and its wonderful photographs and many informative maps and diagrams colourfully enrich the text. It is certain to promote interest in and concern for a wealth of grasslands and their plants, which remain vulnerable to ignorance and neglect. Never forgetful of the particular value of the Welsh lowland landscape and its very special places, this work is of European significance. The book will be an invaluable companion for understanding and celebrating a vital part of our natural and cultural heritage.”
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780708322550
  • Publisher: University of Wales Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Before his death in 2007, D. P. Stevens coordinated the Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales and served as a researcher at the Terrestrial Science Group of the Countryside Council for Wales. S. L. N. Smith, T. H. Blackstock, S. D. S. Bosanquet, and P. S. Stevens work at the Terrestrial Science Group of the Countryside Council for Wales.

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Table of Contents



The authors


Acronyms and abbreviations

1 Introduction 1

Grassland habitats in Wales 3

Grassland habitat classification 4

Descriptions of habitat classes and sub-classes 5

Extent and distribution 9

Historical trends 12

2 Survey rationale and methods 15

Rationale 15

Methodology 17

Annex 2.1 Descriptions of vegetation types recognised independently by the Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales 29

3 Overview of survey coverage 37

Sites 37

Vegetation records 37

Quadrat records 39

Species records 40

Management records 42

4 Mesotrophic grasslands 43

Cynosurus cristatus-Centaurea nigra grassland (MG5) 45

Alopecurus pratensis-Sanguisorba officinalis grassland (MG4) 56

Cynosurus cristatus-Caltha palustris grassland (MG8) 61

Other mesotrophic grassland 63

Site pen-picture 1 Elan Valley Grasslands 67

5 Calcareous grasslands 71

Festuca ouina-Carlina vulgaris grassland (CG1) 72

Festuca ovina-Helictotrichon pratense grassland (CG2) 83

Bromopsis erecta grassland (CG3) 97

Helictotrichon pubescens grassland (CG6) 101

Festuca ovina-Pilosella officinarum-Thymus polytrichus/pulegioides grassland (CG7) 105

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Thymus polytrichus grassland (CG10) 108

Other calcareous grassland 116

Site pen-picture 2 Great Orme's Head 118

6 Acid grasslands 121

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Rumex acetosella grassland (U1) 122

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Ganum saxatile grassland (U4) 130

Other acid grassland 141

Site pen-picture 3 Roundton Hill 143

7 Marshy grasslands 147

Juncus subnodulosus-Cirsium palustre fen-meadow (M22) 149

Juncus effusus/acutiflorus-Galium palustre rush-pasture (M23) 157

Molinia caerulea-Cirsium dissectum fen-meadow (M24) 166

Molinia caerulea-Potentilla erecta mire (M25) 177

Molinia caerulea-Crepis paludosa mire (M26) 186

Other marshy grassland 189

Site pen-picture 4 Cwm Cadlan 192

8 Flushes and heaths 195

Carex echinata-Sphagnum recurvum/auriculatum mire (M6) 197

Carex dioica-Pinguicula vulgaris mire (M10) 205

Schoenus nigricans-Juncus subnodulosus mire (M13) 214

Neutral flush 222

Other communities of Welsh flushes 228

Trichophorum cespitosum-Erica tetralix wet heath (M15) 230

Calluna vulgaris-Ulex gallii heath (H8) 240

Other heath 249

Site pen-picture 5 Tir Stent 254

9 Vegetation analyses 257

Geographical variation 257

Site variation 260

Overview 268

10 Patch characteristics 269

Patch size 269

Patch mosaics 271

Patch shape: fractal analysis 273

Patch connectivity: buffer analysis 275

Patch association: electivity analysis 279

Overview 288

11 Environment-vegetation relationships 289

Methods and overall picture 289

Community-environment relationships 291

Cynosurus cristatus-Centaurea nigra grassland (MG5) 292

Alopecurus pratensis-Sanguisorba officinalis grassland (MG4) and Cynosurus cristatus-Caltha palustris grassland (MG8) 294

Festuca ovina-Carlina vulgaris grassland (CG1) 296

Festuca ovina-Helictotrichon pratense grassland (CG2) 298

Bromopsis erecta grassland (CG3), Helictotrichon pubescens grassland (CG6) and Festuca ovina-Pilosella officinarum-Thymus polytrichus/pulegioides grassland (CG7) 300

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Thymus polytrichus grassland (CG10) 300

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Rumex acetosella grassland (U1) 302

Festuca ovina-Agrostis capillaris-Galium saxatile grassland (U4) 304

Juncus effusus/acutiflorus-Galium palustre rush-pasture (M23) 306

Molinia caerulea-Cirsium dissectum fen-meadow (M24) 308

Molinia caerulea-Potentilla erecto mire (M25) 310

Schoenus nigricans-juncus subnodulosus mire (M13) and Juncus subnodulosus-Cirsium palustre fen-meadow (M22) 312

Carex echinata-Sphagnum recurvum/auriculatum mire (M6) 314

Carex dioica-Pinguicula vulgaris mire (M10) and Neutral flush 316

Trichophorum cespitosum-Erica tetralix wet heath (M15) 318

Calluna vulgaris-Ulex gallii heath (H8) 320

Overview 322

12 Soil-vegetation relationships 323

Mesotrophic grasslands 324

Calcareous grasslands 324

Acid grasslands 326

Marshy grasslands 327

Flushes 329

Overview 331

13 Uncommon plants 333

Rare and scarce vascular plants 333

Other uncommon and contracting vascular plants 336

Uncommon bryophytes 338

Assessment of quadrat records 339

Genetic variation 343

An example of recent species decline 344

14 Conservation 345

Recent trends 346

Threats 348

Management 351

Restoration and creation 354

Future prospects 357

Concluding remarks 357

Appendix 1 Regional conservation reports produced as part of the Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales 359

Appendix 2 Sites surveyed during the Lowland Grassland Survey of Wales, grouped alphabetically by Survey Area 361

Index of species in communities 376

References 382

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