Have you heard about the Highland Wildflower Meadow Mosaic? Led by the High Life Highland Rangers, the project has already created over 50 new small meadow sites across Highland. Caroline Vawdrey supports the project through her role as organiser of the Highland Environment Forum (HEF). She explains the many benefits the meadows will provide:

“I’m delighted to be working with the rangers to promote all the good work they are doing to give wildflower meadows, which have declined by 97% since the 1930s, a boost. The bright hues of mini wildlife meadows will be showing all across the region, giving joy to passers by and to the many pollinators and other insects that they benefit.”

Still, you might be wondering, what do wildflower meadows have to do with climate change adaptation? Wildflower meadows can contribute to climate resilience in Highland in several important ways, including:

1. Biodiversity Conservation: Wildflower meadows support a diverse range of plant species, which in turn provide habitats and food sources for various animals, including pollinators like bees and butterflies. By promoting biodiversity, these meadows help maintain resilient ecosystems, which are better able to adapt to changing climatic conditions. (read more: Forest Research)

2. Flood Management: The dense root systems of wildflowers help increase soil infiltration and water retention capacity, reducing the risk of flooding and soil erosion. This is particularly important as climate change can lead to more intense rainfall events and increased runoff. (read more: WWF)

3. Soil Health and Resilience: Wildflower meadows promote soil health by enhancing organic matter content, nutrient cycling, and soil structure. As mentioned above, healthy soils are better able to withstand climate-related challenges such as droughts or heavy rainfall. Improved soil health also increases the availability of water and nutrients for plant growth, contributing to the overall resilience of the ecosystem. (read more: UKGov)

Senior HLH Ranger Andy Summers has already seen these qualities demonstrated by the Highland Wildflower Meadow Mosaic:

“After this 2023 spring drought, we’ve really noticed the water retention properties of wildflower meadows. The mown short grass is yellow and parched but there is still green in the longer grass.”

Longer grass retains more water, making it more resilient to periods of drought. Here you can see that grass on the same lawn can react very differently to different management techniques. Image credit: HLH Countryside Rangers

Eager to get involved? Click here to learn more about the Highland Wildflower Meadow Mosaic project. Click here for a list of upcoming meadow events. Click here to view a map of the meadows across Highland. Interested in learning more about creating a wildflower meadow on your own property? Check out this guide from Plantlife.