Farm Ecology and Biodiversity

Unit Overview - In this unit the learner will be introduced to the diversity and value of the wild flora and fauna that can be found on the agricultural holding and can be found as species, biotopes and ecosystems in and between different habitats and explore ways to manage them.


1.1 Identify significant habitats for the flora and fauna on the holding


I have compiled this is a separate print based journal.  It has been collected on a daily basis during the course of the last year. Below are a few photographs from the biodiveristy journal. The key wildlife habitats at Eyam are:


  • Wildflower meadow
  • Grazing land
  • Hay meadow
  • Woodland floor
  • Woodland tree canopy
  • Building green roof / wildflower roof
  • Gritstone stone piles
  • Drystone walls as a habitat


1.2 Survey key species in each habitat such as trees, wildflowers, birds, insects, mammals


This has been compiled in a journal as above.


1.3 Explain ecological relationships between the farm operations and wildlife


There are natural predators of course, which cause problems for the chickens predominantly.  I have had a badger in the chicken coop, taking a bird from the nest box whist the others were perched out of reach. I have never seen a fox at any time of the year, and I would know by now if they were up at the site.  I have observed weasels, but they have never taken a chicken.  Crows can be a problem for new born lambs.  I have recently observed stags in the sheep field - but they have not caused a problem.  Moles are a problem. Hares are occasional visitors in the early morning.  The birds of prey that soar over the site are are most fascinating visitors.  They are a constant presence and wonderful to observe.



2.1 Develop a biodiversity plan for a habitat


1.  Wildflowers


Wildflower areas are carefully managed by ensuring that seeds are allowed to naturally dry out and fall in situ.  At the start of the season in early April I found that mowing wildflower areas down to ground level gives a better display and wider variety of species such as wild orchids, red clover and stitchwort.  My feeling is that this type of management prevents the grasses from out competing the wildflowers.


2.  Insects


I have encouraged insects onto the site through planned planting of various species in The Sensory Garden and the Horticulture Area.  Insects are also attracted to the planting in The Dye Garden.

Plants such as phacilia are bringing in huge numbers of diverse insects, bees in particular.


3.  Butterflies / moths


I have observed most of the most common UK butterflies on the site and we have also done some work surveying moths.  Elephant hawk moths being the most unusual to see.


4.  Water


I have a plan to implement a wildlife pond at the site to encourage aquatic life.  This will be placed in one of the wilder areas of the site and I hope to make this happen over the winter so that it will be ready next spring.


2.2 Demonstrate the ability to care for a habitat (implement a plan)


Over the last 4 years the site has developed enormously but not at the expense of the natural habitat.  The preservation of local wildflowers has been ensured by allowing the growth of wildflower meadows in different areas of the site.  The addition of certain other plants has encouraged insects into the site.  The work we have done with students on surveying and biodiversity has been a very valuable educational activity.  In the future I plan to do further work by adding water features.  I will also continue to develop my strategies for the wildflower areas.
















© Brantwood Specialist School

Created by Jim Hildyard