New report highlights areas of north Norfolk’s arable landscape important for threatened plants

A new report has highlighted the importance of Norfolk's arable landscape for threatened plants

Commissioned by the Norfolk Biodiversity Partnership, the report - Important Arable Plant Areas in Norfolk - looks at the importance of farmed landscape for the threatened arable flora.

With changes in agricultural practices over the past 50 years many wild plants that grew alongside crops have become very rare but it is now recognised how much arable wild plants contribute to the overall health of the farmed environment.

The study, which was managed by Farm Conservation Limited, set out to establish the hotspots for arable plants in Norfolk using methods devised by Plantlife International, a global plant conservation charity.

Surveys of over 900 arable field margins were made by Norfolk's voluntary plant recorders and analysis of the data was undertaken using Geographical Information Software to create the publication.

Hotspots for arable plants in Norfolk were found in Sheringham to Wiveton, on Cromer's sands and gravels, Briston to Corpusty and Itteringham.

Comparison of the results with soil data showed that all soil types were important for arable plants, although chalk tetrads exhibited the highest percentage of national or European importance scores.

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The report also said that although funding is given to farmers in Norfolk to deliver effective environmental management, uptake of options that benefit arable flora are variable.

The survey will act as a baseline for further study and will help conservation for arable plants.