Agricultural meadow

In agriculture, a meadow is grassland which is not regularly grazed by domestic livestock, but rather allowed to grow unchecked in order to produce hay. Their roots go way back to the Iron Age when appropriate tools for the hay harvest emerged. The ability to produce livestock fodder on meadows had a significant advantage for livestock production, as animals could be kept in enclosures, simplifying the control over breeding. Surpluses in biomass production during the summer could be stored for the winter, preventing damages to forests and grasslands as there was no longer the need for livestock grazing during the winter.

Especially in the United Kingdom and Ireland, the term meadow is commonly used in its original sense to mean a hay meadow, signifying grassland mown annually in the summer for making hay. Agricultural meadows are typically lowland or upland fields upon which hay or pasture grasses grow from self-sown or hand-sown seed.Traditional hay meadows were once common in rural Britain, but are now in decline. Ecologist Professor John Rodwell states that over the past century, England and Wales have lost about 97% of their hay meadows Fewer than 15,000 hectares of lowland meadows remain in the UK and most sites are relatively small and fragmented. 25% of the UK's meadows are found in Worcestershire, with Foster's Green Meadow managed by the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust being a major site.

A similar concept to the hay meadow is the pasture, which differs from the meadow in that it is grazed through the summer, rather than being allowed to grow out and periodically be cut for hay. A pasture can also refer to any land used for grazing, and in this wider sense the term refers not only to grass pasture but also to non-grassland habitats such as heathland, moorland and wood pasture.The term, grassland, is used to describe both hay meadows and grass pastures.

The specific agricultural practices in relation to the meadow can take on various expressions. As mentioned, this could be hay production or providing food for grazing cattle and livestock but also to give room for orchards or honey production. Meadows are embedded and dependent on a complex web of socio-cultural conditions for their maintenance. Historically, they emerged to increase agricultural efficiency when the necessary tools became available. Today, agricultural practices have shifted and meadows have largely lost their original purpose. Yet, they are appreciated today for their aesthetics and ecological functions. Consequently, the European Union's Common Agricultural Policy subsidizes their management, mostly through grazing.

(Foto: Schwäbin (Wikimedia), Lizenz: CreativeCommons by-sa-3.0-de )

Source: Wikipedia contributors. "Meadow." Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia, 25 Jun. 2021. Web. 28 Jun. 2021.

NatureSpots NSP AppScreens 06 S9 Trans

Hey, do you love Nature?

Observing and learning about nature is fun and can help to protect our environment. In the NatureSpots App, you can put up all kinds of nature sightings - from species to habitats. Join up and help to build a biodiversity data set and share your photos!


Create your account or download the NatureSpots App for your Smartphone now to join the community!

NatureSpots App with plants and leaves

Get the free App!

NatureSpots is a non-profit and 100% community-driven project. We run it because we love to discover our world and share our findings with others. The app does not contain any ads and we do not get money from this project at all. Download the App on your Smartphone and join up!

Android AppStoreBadge 150x45px IOS AppStoreBadge 150x45px

Want to partner up for a new biodiversity experience?

We are looking for partners, who are interested in biodiversity data, Citizen Science and being part of a modern and unique app. NatureSpots App is running on the SPOTTERON Citizen Science platform and provides a wide range of interactive features. For partners, we can provide communication tools, access to the data administration interface and download of occurrence records without any costs.

Please get in contact via if you are interested in joining NatureSpots with your organization! Let's talk about the future of biodiversity monitoring and how we can work best together!