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A meadow ( MED-oh) is an open habitat, or field, vegetated by grasses, herbs, and other non-woody plants. Trees or shrubs may sparsely populate meadows, as long as these areas maintain an open character. Meadows may be naturally occurring or artificially created from cleared shrub or woodland. They can occur naturally under favourable conditions (see perpetual meadows), but they are often maintained by humans for the production of hay, fodder, or livestock. Meadow habitats, as a group, are characterized as "semi-natural grasslands", meaning that they are largely composed of species native to the region, with only limited human intervention. Meadows attract a multitude of wildlife, and support flora and fauna that could not thrive in other habitats. They are ecologically important as they provide areas for animal courtship displays, nesting, food gathering, pollinating insects, and sometimes sheltering, if the vegetation is high enough. There are multiple types of meadows, including agricultural, transitional, and perpetual – each playing a unique and important part of the ecosystem. Like other ecosystems, meadows will experience increased pressure (including on their biodiversity) due to climate change, especially as precipitation and weather conditions change. However, grasslands and meadows also have an important climate change mitigation potential as carbon sinks; deep-rooted grasses store a substantial amount of carbon in soil.

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