Module: Farmland Ecology

Module details

  • Module code

  • Module leader

    Jenny Phelps / Ian Grange
  • Module Level

  • Module credits

  • Min study time

    150 hours
  • Contact hrs

    36 hours

Module content

Agrobiodiversity refers to managed and unmanaged biodiversity within an agricultural ecosystem interacting with the wider landscape. As agriculture has been, and continues to be, the dominant land use in the United Kingdom this module will review and analyse the influences driving biological change within the agricultural landscape and associated habitats and species found on different farmed environments. It will look at issues of scale, heterogeneity and fragmentation, so as to identify opportunities and threats with a view to developing options for management to enhance and protect biodiversity.

At the end of the module students will be able to measure opportunities for practical enhancement, recognising possible threats and be able to produce a useful Farm Environment Record and Options Map, as compliant with basic payment scheme, greening and NELMS schemes, and feel confident to undertake Phase 1 Habitat Surveys.

The introductory elements will serve to contextualise prior studies leading the student on to concentrate on farmed land

Module outcomes

On successful completion of this module a student should be able:

  1. Explain the influences and effects of farming on the ecological landscape.
  2. Review and describe the relationships between habitats and species found within differing farming systems and environments within the ecosystem.
  3. Critically evaluate, discuss and recommend management options, mapped and reported, on farm habitats in line with current agr-environmental management agreements.


Assessment Description Weighting
Report Project report (3000 words) 100%

Assessments may differ in 2020/21 due to adjustments for Covid-19. Please check Gateway for the latest regulations.

Key texts

Students should be familiar with the content of at least one of the following:

  • Andrews, J. and Rebane (1994). Farming and Wildlife. RSPB. Sandy, Bedfordshire.
  • Lockie, S. and Carpenter, D. (2010). Agriculture, Biodiversity and Markets: Livelihoods and Agroecology in Comparative Perspective. Earthscan. London, UK.
  • Warren, J., Lawson, C. and Belcher, K. (2008). The Agri-Environment. Cambridge University Press, UK.

Supporting texts

  • Bell, S. and McGillivray (2008). Environmental Law. Oxford University Press – Chapters 1, 7, 19, 20, Oxford, UK.
  • Chapman, J. L. and Reiss, M. J. (1999). Ecology Principles and Applications. Cambridge University Press.
  • Farming and Wildlife Advisory Group (FWAG). (Undated). Farm Conservation. FWAG.
  • Finch, H. J. S., Samuel, A. M. and Lane, G. P. F. (2002). Lockhart & Wiseman’s Crop Husbandry. Woodhead Publishing - Chapters, 9, 10, 17.
  • JNCC. (2010). Handbook for Phase 1 Habitat Survey - A Technique for Environmental Audit. Available from: [Date accessed 09.07.10].
  • Natural England. (2010). Entry Level Stewardship Handbook (2010). (3rd edition). Peterborough. Available from: [Date accessed 12.07.10].
  • Rose, F. (1989). Colour Identification Guide to the Grasses: Sedges, Rushes and Ferns of the British Isles and north-western Europe. Viking, UK.
  • Rose, F. (2006). The Wild Flower Key: How to Identify Wild Flowers, Trees and Shrubs in Britain and Ireland /. Francis Rose, revised and expanded by Clare O'Reilly, Penguin, UK.
  • RSPB. (2010). Generic Site Management Planning, Format and Guidance Notes. Available from: [Date accessed: 09.07.10].