The restoration and protection of the swampy meadow within an agricultural landscape
This paper addresses some implications our limited understanding of the swampy meadow landform has on agricultural production and sustainable water management. The ecological and hydrological consequences of current water management practices have lead to a revaluation of natural approaches as an alternative to instream engineering solutions. One such approach would be the restoration/rehabilitation of the swampy meadow. These landforms act as buffering agents for floods and droughts, allow for the re-hydration of the floodplains, and have further positive effects on enhancing biodiversity and improving agricultural productivity outcomes. In this paper we examine the many confusing terms used to label the swampy meadow and postulate that this confusion, poor landform recognition, and a poor understanding of their functions within agricultural landscapes, have implications on our capacity to manage our drainage networks. Further, we argue that this situation may be exacerbated by current government legislation that as yet does not provide adequate protection of the swampy meadow and may, in fact, be hindering attempts to restore incised channels back to their unchannellised form.
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