Guernsey, being a small island, has many demands on its limited land. Agricultural improvement, changes in land use and abandonment of marginal land have all contributed to a net loss in Guernsey’s biodiversity over recent years.
Within the past decade, 50% of Guernsey’s species-rich grasslands has been lost. This loss has resonated through the ecosystem as it affects the species which are dependent on it, such as the skylark which stopped breeding in the Island in 2010, or the meadow pipit which is in steady and long-term decline. The decline of the stonechat, starling, house sparrow and to some degree, song thrush, blackbird and finches will all have been caused or accelerated by the loss of these grasslands and the intensification of the remaining land.
Very little land in Guernsey is managed with conservation in mind.
Managed land is usually mechanically cut once or twice a year. These cuttings will then either be cleared using a collector or, if this isn’t possible they may be left and will form a thick thatch which supresses the growth of plants other than coarse grasses, reducing the area’s wildlife value.