Chalk Grassland

This project celebrates the chalk downs of north and east Dorset. Lowland calcareous grasslands are an internationally rare habitat and one of the richest for biological diversity. A chalk grassland can support over 40 species per square metre. This plant diversity is matched by the diversity of invertebrates that inhabit the grassland. The habitat is the product of millennia of grazing, since the areas would have been cleared of woodland and scrub when the lands were first settled. It has been slowly disappearing since the 18th century as agricultural practices changed. Since WWII the loss accelerated and much of this habitat has now been lost to agricultural intensification, a lack of grazing, scrub encroachment and development and now exists in scattered patches across a landscape it would once have covered.