Lowland Calcareous Grassland

What is it?

Lowland calcareous grassland generally occurs as small patches in mosaics with other grassland types including agriculturally improved ones, scrub and rock outcrops and on thin, dry, soils in limestone areas.

What’s special about it?

Lowland calcareous grasslands are of high conservation value in being small patches of high diversity within larger landscapes dominated by intensively managed farmland. They are amongst the most species-rich habitats in the UK and are important for some uncommon and rare plants such as orchids, mammals, insects such as butterflies, and for many birds.

How do we benefit?

This habitat can provide homes for species that pollinate flowers and crops as well as store carbon. The value of pollinators to UK agriculture is conservatively estimated at £440m per annum. Semi-natural grasslands, like this one, also store greater densities of carbon than improved grasslands and arable land; allow greater water infiltration rates and enhanced storage which can aid flood prevention; and produce less nitrous oxide and pollution due to the low fertiliser inputs.

How could development affect it?

Lowland calcareous grassland could be lost or damaged through
• built development,
• quarrying,
• road building,
• landfill,
• afforestation
• agricultural intensification.

Find out more>>

UKBAP list of priority habitats

Scottish National Heritage