Monitoring the impacts of Entry Level Stewardship

  • Published source details Food and Environment Research Agency (2013) Monitoring the impacts of Entry Level Stewardship. Natural England report, Natural England Commissioned Report 133.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Pay stakeholders to protect marshes or swamps

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Pay stakeholders to protect marshes or swamps

    A replicated, before-and-after, site comparison study in 2005–2012 of farmland ditches in England, UK (FERA 2013) found that managing ditches under an agri-environment scheme had no significant effect on the frequency of emergent vegetation or total plant species richness. After six years, 48–55% of ditches managed under agri-environment rules contained emergent vegetation. There were 6.1–6.5 plant species/ditch (emergent, aquatic and terrestrial combined). These values did not significantly differ from ditches not managed under agri-environment rules: 62% contained emergent vegetation and there were 6.4 plant species/ditch. Additionally, there was no change over time in the proportion of managed ditches that contained emergent vegetation: 39% just before or just after the agri-environment scheme began, then 34% five years later (statistical significance not assessed). Methods: The “Entry Level Stewardship” agri-environment scheme began in 2005/2006. Rules for ditch management included leaving half of the ditch banks uncut every year, and not cultivating within 2 m of the ditch centre. Vegetation in and along ditches was surveyed in 2005/2006, 2011 and 2012. Surveys included 52–170 ditches/year managed under agri-environment rules, and 16–17 ditches/year on farms not participating in the scheme.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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