Mapping cornfield flowers

Our cornfield flowers – the familiar annuals of wheat, barley and oat crops - include some of the most threatened plants in Britain. Since the introduction of intensive farming practises, many have declined to the point of extinction. Against this backdrop, it’s essential that we know what’s left growing in our fields so we can target conservation action accordingly.

We have developed a method to compare the communities of cornfield flowers growing in individual fields and farms. Rare and threatened species score more highly; sites with the highest scores are of international importance and are identified as Important Arable Plant Areas (IAPAs).

We are working with a range of partners in England and Wales to identify IAPAs and help direct management to farms rich in arable plants and we have produced guidance on managing arable habitats and surveying arable plants.

Our goals:

  • Map the distribution of threatened arable plants across Vice-Counties in Wales and National Character Areas in England.
  • Identify and map sites of county, national and international importance using the Important Arable Plant Area method.
  • Communicate results to agencies responsible for the targeting and uptake of agri-environment scheme options to help conserve arable plants.

Mapping projects took place in England and Wales and have now been completed. Find out more about each by choosing one of the options below: