As we celebrate all things wildlife for World Wildlife Day, we at SLR wanted to share some of what we’re doing to support efforts to champion wildlife.
Wildlife is nothing without ecosystems to thrive in, and to that end, we’re working with Plantlife and WWF to understand more about a crucial but often neglected habitat in grasslands. Grasslands can be critically important and undervalued ecosystems.
They’ve suffered drastically over the last century, particularly in the UK. One often-quoted figure is the 97% loss in grasslands since WW2. We’re looking into how this is quite a misunderstood figure as part of producing two reports to understand grasslands better.
The first report seeks to understand what’s been happening to grasslands over time, where that 97% figure comes from, and what it really refers to.
We’re also looking at “ecosystem services”, which are the flow of benefits to humanity from ecosystems. Grasslands complement other vital ecosystems to provide wildlife with a place to thrive. They also store carbon, offer protection from flooding, provide beautiful areas for humans to enjoy and deliver a multitude of other benefits.
So our second report looks at what benefits grasslands provide and where the threats and opportunities lie in championing grassland ecosystem services, particularly in the UK.
The project is still ongoing, but it’s clear so far that more can be done to support grasslands and the role they can play in the UK. .
All in all, grasslands are great (wait for the reports to find out why!) and one of the many fabulous ecosystems that our wonderful wildlife calls home.
Authors: Peter Wigglesworth, Ida Bailey and Paul Watkinson.