A close up of a grassy field

Understanding grassland habitats with Plantlife and WWF

Ida Bailey Principal Ecologist
Ida Bailey

Ida has been professionally involved in ecology relate project management/ research for over a decade, working with a wide range of aquatic and terrestrial species, in the UK, North America and South Africa. She spent her early career gaining a PhD and undertaking several post-doctoral positions  focusing on animal cognition and foraging behaviour. Her career then moved in to ecological consultancy. She is a qualified project manager (PRINCE2 Practitioner) an associate member of CIEEM and a member of the Society for Ecological Restoration (Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner in Training, CERPIT).

Within the past four years Ida has managed the ecological aspects of over 35 projects in Scotland, England, Wales and the USA in: onshore wind (feasibility, EIA, pre-construction, construction and operational phases), grid, forestry, floating solar, conservation, hydroelectric, solar, housing, waste/ landfill, industry and minerals/ mining.

Ida join SLR in 2019. In her role as an associate ecologist  Ida is a member of SLR’s Natural Capital Working Group. This is a good fit with her interests in ecosystem services and habitat restoration. Her broad range of experiences and skills allow her to take an innovate, practical approach to problem solving, and she believes that is particularly important in the rapidly developing field of Natural Capital.

It was World Wildlife Day last week, and so we at SLR wanted to share some of what we’re doing to support efforts to champion wildlife.

Wildlife is nothing without ecosystems to thrive in, and to that end, we’re working with Plantlife and WWF to understand more about a crucial but often neglected habitat in grasslands. Grasslands can be critically important and undervalued ecosystems.


They’ve suffered drastically over the last century, particularly in the UK. One often-quoted figure is the 97% loss in grasslands since WW2. We’re looking into how this is quite a misunderstood figure as part of producing two reports to understand grasslands better.


The first report seeks to understand what’s been happening to grasslands over time, where that 97% figure comes from, and what it really refers to.


We’re also looking at “ecosystem services”, which are the flow of benefits to humanity from ecosystems. Grasslands complement other vital ecosystems to provide wildlife with a place to thrive. They also store carbon, offer protection from flooding, provide beautiful areas for humans to enjoy and deliver a multitude of other benefits.


So our second report looks at what benefits grasslands provide and where the threats and opportunities lie in championing grassland ecosystem services, particularly in the UK.


The project is still ongoing, but it’s clear so far that more can be done to support grasslands and the role they can play in the UK. .


All in all, grasslands are great (wait for the reports to find out why!) and one of the many fabulous ecosystems that our wonderful wildlife calls home.


Authors: Peter Wigglesworth, Ida Bailey and Paul Watkinson.

Want to know more?

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss a project, our team would be happy to hear from you. Find out more