Laidlaw Summer Report Rewilding and Wildflower meadow

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Biodiversity has declined rapidly, and effective conservation actions are required urgently. Scientific evidence and knowledge are key in decision-making for conservation planning. My research collects and provides scientific evidence that can be useful for both large and small conservation. 

Wildflower as a new effective conservation method
Wildflower meadow provides food and habitats for various species and crucial part of the local ecosystem. Research has identified the specialised interactions between native wildflowers and local specialised pollinators, the increase in carbon storage and the cultural heritage value of the site. 

My project provides the key decision-making guide for how to implement wildflower meadows which can show the high biodiversity and sustain rich biodiversity for a long period. 

1. How to create the most biodiverse wildflower meadow? 

Wildflower meadows created by six different methods were compared to see the difference in biodiversity and plant community composition, which is used to identify the most effective wildflower establishment method. 

2. Where are wildflowers transplanted and which wildflowers are most suitable for each site? 

Wildflower's germination success often varies depending on the range of factors. This project investigated the difference in germination success and germination speed under various environmental, soil and water availability conditions. 

3. How do local animals interfere with and affect wildflowers? 

Rabbits are one of the main herbivores in the UK and they cause both positive and negative effects on local vegetation. This project reported the impact of rabbit grazing on wildflower growth and the regeneration of wildflowers against the disturbance. 

Rewilding in small and large in County Durham
Rewilding is an emerging conservation approach which restores lost self-sustainable and ecological function by reducing human intervention. Durham County just announced an ecological emergency advocating the need for further environmental and conservation actions. So, rewilding can be one of the solutions to tackle biodiversity loss as it can be implemented on both large and small scales. This report discusses the benefits of rewilding practices and their limitations. 

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