Meadow management

© Mike Dodd

Meadow management


Floodplain meadow management traditionally includes mowing in the middle of summer followed aftermath grazing in the autumn/winter. Regular, consistent management is critically important for sustainable biodiversity of the sites; both under-managed and over-managed meadows tend to lose their taxonomic and functional diversity.

The collection of systematic data on meadow management from landowners has proved a challenge, but such data are very valuable. The Partnership has conducted a number of trials to answer specific questions on the role of management in conserving target communities and controlling particular species. 

Related projects

2020 – PhD study by Vicky Bowskill. The sustainable management of floodplain meadows for enhanced productivity.

2020 – 2032. Oxley Mead SSSI. Effect of cutting time on botanical diversity. Research trial. This trial will enable changes in hay quality through the season to be described. It will also quantify the effectiveness of the traditional management technique of cutting a meadow twice during the growing season in order to deplete its nutrient pool.

2015 – 2016. Resilience of floodplain productivity to Environmental Change. Funded by NERC International Opportunities grant. David Gowing, Irina Tatarenko


Our publications

Midolo, Gabriele; Herben, Tomáš; Axmanová, Irena; Marcenò, Corrado; Pätsch, Ricarda; Bruelheide, Helge; Karger, Dirk Nikolaus; Aćić, Svetlana; Bergamini, Ariel; Bergmeier, Erwin; Biurrun, Idoia; Bonari, Gianmaria; Čarni, Andraž; Chiarucci, Alessandro; De Sanctis, Michele; Demina, Olga; Dengler, Jürgen; Dziuba, Tetiana; Fanelli, Giuliano; Garbolino, Emmanuel; Giusso del Galdo, Gianpietro; Goral, Friedemann; Güler, Behlül; Hinojos‐Mendoza, Guillermo; Jansen, Florian; Jiménez‐Alfaro, Borja; Lengyel, Attila; Lenoir, Jonathan; Pérez‐Haase, Aaron; Pielech, Remigiusz; Prokhorov, Vadim; Rašomavičius, Valerijus; Ruprecht, Eszter; Rūsiņa, Solvita; Šilc, Urban; Škvorc, Željko; Stančić, Zvjezdana; Tatarenko, Irina and Chytrý, Milan (2022). Disturbance indicator values for European plants. Global Ecology and Biogeography (Early access).

George, Laura; Rothero, Emma; Tatarenko, Irina; Wallace, Hilary; Dodd, Michael; Reed, Nancy; Fleckney, Andy; Bellamy, Graham and Gowing, David (2021). Control of meadowsweet Filipendula ulmaria through a change of management from grazing to mowing at an English floodplain meadow. Conservation Evidence, 18 pp. 44–49

McGinlay, J.; Gowing, D. J. G. and Budds, J. (2016). Conserving socio-ecological landscapes: An analysis of traditional and responsive management practices for floodplain meadows in England. Environmental Science & Policy, 66 pp. 234–241.

Morris, Joseph; Posthumus, Helena; Hess, Timothy; Gowing, David and Rouquette, James (2009). Watery land: the management of lowland floodplains in England. In: Winter, Michael and Lobley, Matt eds. What is Land For? The Food, Fuel and Climate Change Debate. London, UK: Earthscan.

Edwards, Andrew R.; Mortimer, Simon R.; Lawson, Clare S.; Westbury, Duncan B.; Harris, Stephanie J.; Woodcock, Ben A. and Brown, Valerie K (2007). Hay strewing, brush harvesting of seed and soil disturbance as tools for the enhancement of botanical diversity in grasslands. Biological Conservation, 134(3) pp. 372–382.