Can species-poor grassland be diversified? A case study of lowland hay meadow restoration at Llanerchaeron, Ceredigion, Wales.
As part of the 'Save Our Magnificent Meadows' project, a two hectare field was converted to hay meadow on the National Trust's Llanerchaeron Estate in west Wales. The field had previously been heavily grazed by sheep. Green hay was collected from an established meadow and spread by hand onto the receptor site in 2014, in order to increase the number of plant propagules present. The field was then managed as a hay meadow, with aftermath grazing. There was a significant increase in both positive indicator species and forb cover over the five year period from 2013-2017. In 2013, there was less than one positive indicator species/quadrat compared to 4.6 positive indicator species/quadrat in 2017. The results are discussed in relation to the change in management from intensive sheep grazing to hay making with aftermath grazing, and the spreading of green hay to increase the number of plant propagules present.