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HNV Showcases

Machair - unknown jewel

System

wild flowermachair grassland
In summer, machair grassland boasts spectacular displays of wild flowers.
Beach zone, dunes, slacks, fens, lochs, saltmarsh – all are part of the Machair system. Machair grassland plains are very complex in terms of development, origin, habitat types and management. They contain mosaics of wet and dry grassland communities as a result of different grazing and tillage history as well as strong soil and water gradients. They only come into existence when sand is blown inland following the periodical breakdown of foredunes.
Lapwing and Little tern
Lapwing, Corn buntings and even Little tern will readily nest on cultivated machair land.
low-intensity grazing and rotational cropping
The magic of the Machair is the result of a combination of low-intensity grazing and rotational cropping (oats, rye, potatoes). Today, cultivated Machair is mainly restricted to the Outer Hebrides (North / South Uist).
cattle-grazing
Traditionally, extensive cattle-grazing has played a major part in the shaping of the Machair grassland pastures. Due to the seasonal absence of livestock – the pastures are rested in summer – conditions are ideal for breeding birds. The wader populations of the Uists, Coll and Tiree are claimed to be the most important in the north-west Palaearctic.

 
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European Forum on Nature Conservation and Pastoralism
Online: http://www.efncp.org/hnv-showcases/scottish-hebrides/machair/system/
Date: 2017/06/29
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