Wild grass and little creatures

Wild grass and little creatures

10 management principles for grassy areas to protect flora and fauna

Download the brochure here (French only) For the second edition a few points of caution have been added, and some further scientific exploration.

This brochure is based on the conviction that respect for life is due not only to the big animals, but also to the little ones: insects, spiders, snails, the tiny workers of the earth… On the one hand, they are the basis of the food chain, the fertility of plants and soils and even the water cycle, in the great interdependence of all living things. The birds that depend on them are clearly visible evidence of this. There is also more and more evidence that even these tiny creatures can feel emotions and pain. In certain situations they are capable of learning. In short, it’s not just the species that needs to be taken into account, but also the individual – which is ‘used’ to be eaten.

In fact, this world of the small is a world where people trap, hunt and parasitise each other, deceive and swindle each other through camouflage of colours and smells, eat each other alive, keep small livestock, exploit slaves and fight for territory or a throne. Curiosities that are at the same time frightening illustrations of what evolution has been able to do with the human species.

The small fauna of grassy areas is devastated by the mowing and shredding carried out by local authorities, private individuals and businesses. In addition to pesticides, light pollution and the physical destruction of environments, ‘clean’ management using ever more powerful machines is certainly partly responsible for the collapse of insect populations. We need to move towards radically differentiated management, with in particular a lot of winter refuge areas. Hence the 10 management principles to protect flora and fauna.

The same applies to agricultural meadows. Each mowing and haying operation results in a massacre of small fauna. Intensifying grassland management is catastrophic for biodiversity. We need to review the frequency of mowing, the machinery used (to make it less deadly), and diversification in terms of mowing dates and refuge areas – including refuges that are not mown during the winter – at least on a significant proportion of the land.