What is the habitat for the Colour in the Margins project?
The colourful hues of cornfield flowers were once a familiar part of our arable landscape. Sadly they are also the fastest declining suite of plants in the UK. Fascinating, sometimes rare, and often overlooked - they are frequently threatened by the arable farming on which they depend. This has a knock-on effect for other wildlife, including ground beetles, bats and birds.
Why is this habitat at risk?
Arable habitats have been affected by modern farming practices such as the increased use of herbicides and fertilisers, changes from spring to autumn growing, and increased competition from modern crop varieties. These have reduced the chances that cornfield flowers have to spread and grow.
How we coloured in the margins
This Back from the Brink project, led by Plantlife, focussed on 13 species; 10 plants, and three ground beetles. Conservation work for these had benefits for many other threatened species, particularly 14 birds, two bryophytes, eight mammals, three insects and eight other arable plants. We developed ways to reintroduce and manage for these species, and worked to bring them back to suitable sites. We worked extensively with farmers and landowners to encourage them to take up these techniques.
We captured community recollections of animals and plants of the arable landscape, arranged farm visits, and provided training workshops, advice and guidance for farmers. We introduced people to the habitats by a programme of activities and volunteering.
What we achieved
Amongst many other things, we undertook an extensive programme of 69 reintroductions of target arable plant species to establish new populations, trialling new methodologies and producing best practice guidelines. Volunteers contributed by carrying out arable plant surveys and collecting seeds for deposition at Kew Millennium Seed Banks, as well as taking part in reintroductions, assisting with creating publications and data management, and increasing their plant identification skills through training. Thanks to the collaboration between our project team and the Royal Agricultural University, the next generation of farmers and advisors are now inspired and informed about arable plants through their degree courses.
MOSEY IN THE
Take a closer look at the wildlife
in our arable landscapes
using this guide.
FRIENDS IN THE
A companion guide to help you
explore habitats while wandering
through arable fields.
A guide to familiarise you with
farmers' friends around an
CROSS STITCH PATTERNS AND COLOURING SHEETS
Bring these wonderful species to life in a creative way!
Resources for schools, farms, parents and carers, to engage children with arable habitat.
Learning and Enquiry Packs
HIGHER EDUCATION RESOURCES
Resources for Colleges and Universities
Education Pack - Ecology and Conservation
Education Pack - Arable Plant Management
ARABLE PLANT & HABITAT INFORMATION
Identification tables for groups of closely related plants.
Species Information Sheets
Introductory Guides for Colour in the Margins Species
Ecology and Conservation Portfolios
Habitat Management Guides
Information for Farmers and Land Managers
Seed Conservation and Sowing
How to Collect, Store and Sow Seeds
ARABLE PLANT SURVEYS
Survey Forms and Instructions
How to Survey for Arable Plants
Back from the Brink Innovations Conference Presentation
Species Recovery and Management - Farmland and Bareground