Grassland: Selecting indicators of success for grassland enhancement (TIN050)


Extensive management alone is usually insufficient to restore sites to diverse grassland communities. The lack of propagules (seeds or organs of vegetative spread) of desirable species is often the factor that limits restoration.

It is estimated that over 80% of the species of diverse grassland communities have short-lived seed banks. Therefore, significant intervention to restore lost species is usually needed, in particular introducing the missing propagules, for example, by spreading species-rich hay or over-sowing with an appropriate seed mix following suitable preparation of the site.

Intervention should be done near the start of the agreement to give the site time to benefit from the work and to resolve any problems that might arise. Introductions may be staged, for example species that are more difficult to establish may be delayed until after the other species have established well and have persisted for two or more years.

As every site is different it is difficult to be highly prescriptive about some indicators. Instead the main considerations are set out in this note so that advisers can use their local knowledge, experience and judgement to set a suitable range of values.

Neutral grassland
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