A meadow is not a technical term but more of a cultural term. It is a type of ecosystem that is made up of community of a plant or plants reliant on surface water (or shallow ground water) and has mostly herbaceous species (grass), with some woody vegetation such as trees and shrubs.
An agricultural meadow is not grazed heavily, or at all, but is allowed to develop its grassland. This grass can then be turned into hay for livestock.
Meadow ecology[edit | edit source]
The ecology of meadows is complex. They are ecologically important because they support a wide range of flora and fauna attracted by the sunny and open area a meadow provides. The pollinating potential is high, due to the production of wildflowers, attracting bees and other pollinating insects and perhaps some mammals.
Wildflower meadows are important for biodiversity. Urban meadows can provide open areas that encourage various species to use the area, provide colour in the urban areas and serve as a focal point for the community to actively manage and care for nature within the urban setting.
Meadows play an important role in soaking up water when the snowpack melts in areas subject to snow.