Important Arable Plant Areas

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Ranscombe Farm IAPA

Important Arable Plant Areas (IAPAs) are adapted and developed using the three Important Plant Area (IPA) criteria, and form a subset of IPAs.

The IAPA method is used to highlight arable farmland in the UK of three levels of importance:

  • Sites of European Importance: sites that are identified as being of European importance on account of their vascular arable plant interests alone, and which should be considered for inclusion within the UK’s IPA contribution to the European network of IPAs.
  • Sites of National Importance: additional sites of national importance for their arable plant interests.
  • Sites of County Importance: a shadow listing of sites that are of high regional importance which may with further detailed recording prove to be of National or European Importance.

IAPAs are based on the presence of...

  1. Particular threatened species
  2. Exceptional plant assemblages (using the IAPA scoring methods) and
  3. Priority habitats

Rich arable plant communities perhaps represent the one habitat in Britain that has not been the subject of a detailed field-by-field assessment. At the European level, few arable plant species have been highlighted in international red lists.

Sites of European, National and County Importance at a holding and field level have been identified by applying a species scoring method – under exceptional plant assemblages. This enables effective targeting of conservation measures to the most important populations of rare and threatened arable plants. As the work on arable plants has been developed, regional lists of species and scoring have been created for England and Wales . These are based on the UK assessment taking into consideration the country red lists.