We know a great deal about water meadows. However, the research behind this book has revealed an interesting facet of this knowledge. A good deal of what has been written about the biodiversity and other aspects of water meadows in the past, and which passes onwards as received wisdom, may not be true.
In tracking down authoritative work upon which to base this new synthesis and appreciation, it became apparent that much historic reference to water meadows has been a simple extrapolation of what some authors know of other types of wet meadow. Yet water meadows are a quite distinct habitat type with characteristic biota and clear economic objectives, to which no safe generalisation can be made from other forms of wet grassland.
This book charts the rise, function and decline of water meadows, exploring aspects of natural and cultural conservation, case studies of surviving, relic and restored systems, and some thoughts about their future in a changing world. It is both a comprehensive account of the cultural, natural and economic values of water meadows, and a celebration of this unique and fast-disappearing habitat type.