Scientific Research on North Meadow
North Meadow is an important botanical research site and certainly justifies its designation as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI). The Floodplain Meadows Partnership (hosted by the Open University) have carried out extensive annual research here since 1998. If you would like to know more about the work of the Floodplain Meadows Partnership on North Meadow you might like to read this report which summarises some of the work they have been doing.
The Floodplain Meadows Partnership is an innovative project which focuses on research, management, promotion and restoration of these special lowland hay meadows in England and Wales. They do long term monitoring to improve knowledge about plant community responses to environmental change. They advise on conservation, management and restoration of floodplain meadows, run short courses and workshops and publish literature which summarises the latest knowledge.
Unimproved lowland hay meadow once common is now very rare in the UK with only about 1000 hectares remaining. At 45 hectares North Meadow is one of the largest and most important meadows left, and the data collected constitutes the longest dataset for this grassland type in Europe. Research on North Meadow has contributed to scientific knowledge through papers published in 'Nature' the main journal of the scientific community.
North Meadow has been managed in the same way for 700 years and with around 240 different plant species has a diversity which is increasingly rare, it is vital that the delicate balance of this habitat is preserved into the future.