Sites of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI): Protecting England's natural treasures Sites of Special Scientific Interest (NE306)

Breckland Farmland: an arable nature reserve

Outside of areas of semi-natural habitat, SSSI designation has helped protect biodiversity on intensively used agricultural land as here in the Breckland area of East Anglia.

Farmland birds are one of the species groups that have experienced the most significant declines over the past 50 years. But in East Anglia the extensive SSSI of Breckland Farmland, which stretches over 70 farms, has bucked the trend. Here the population of stone-curlew, one of Britain’s rarest birds, has risen steadily due to measures such as encouraging the use of spring sown crops which help support their favoured nesting habitat. Across the SSSI, numbers have increased from 109 breeding pairs in 1999 to the current total of 230 – which accounts for 60 per cent of the British population. The UK population of stone-curlew is currently the only one in Europe that is increasing. 

One of England's rarest birds, the stone curlew, is now thriving at Breckland Farmland.

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