The changing plant communities of Scotland's sand dunes and machair
The sand dunes and machair of Scotland’s coast support diverse wildflower communities, but these are extremely vulnerable to changes in land use. A large dataset has provided botanists with a unique opportunity to assess the state of these habitats in Scotland, and examine how and why they have changed over the past 30 years. Robin Pakeman provides an overview of this crucial study, and explains what needs to be done in order to prevent further losses of these fragile grasslands.
Changes in agriculture have led to dramatic changes in the British countryside, with knock-on impacts on biodiversity associated with farmland. Many species have suffered substantial declines caused by changes in cropping patterns and grassland management, greater use of fertilisers and pesticides, and removal of habitats such as hedgerows.