Working with partners and land managers, this project will develop coordinated grass and field management plans for public space, roadside verges and farmland.
Prof. Juliet Osborne, Director of the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute is working with Impact Fellows Jess Knapp and Dr Grace Twiston-Davies to implement a co-ordinated approach to grassland management across Cornwall for the benefit of people, crops and wildlife. The aim is to improve biodiversity and wildlife habitats, increase crop pollination and reduced costs for grassland management.
Key partners include Cornwall Council, Riveria Produce, Kier, Natural England, NFU, Cornwall AONB and the Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board.
Grassland Management in Cornwall
Cornwall has a vast area of amenity grassland in towns, and along roads. Most agriculture is based on grass production for dairy or beef, but there is also a strong horticultural industry with high value crops relying on insect pollination. There are a large number of initiatives being undertaken by different bodies to manage grassland in a less intensive fashion, to promote plant and invertebrate diversity and the consequent ecosystem services: pollination, decomposition, soil quality, pest regulation and even water management. However most grassland in Cornwall still remains heavily mown/grazed and heavily fertilised, with the associated lack of biodiversity and ecosystem services.
Grace has been developing and applying innovative computer-based solutions to landscape scale problems. Grace is a member of Professor Juliet Osborne’s pollinator ecology research group who have created a set of cutting-edge computer models of bee behaviour, growth and survival at the University of Exeter’s Environment and Sustainability Institute. Grace is working with partners in research, industry and the environment to apply these models to contemporary conservation and food security issues in Cornwall and the UK.