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A meadow is a field habitat vegetated by grass and other non-woody plants ( grassland ). Meadows are of ecological importance because they are open, sunny areas that attract and support flora and fauna that could not thrive in other conditions. Meadows may be naturally occurring or artificially created from cleared shrub or woodland . They often host a multitude of wildlife , providing areas for courtship displays, nesting, food gathering and sometimes sheltering if the vegetation is high enough. Many meadows support a wide array of wildflowers, which makes them of utmost importance to pollinating insects, including bees, and hence the entire ecosystem . In agriculture , a meadow is grassland which is not regularly grazed by domestic livestock , but rather allowed to grow unchecked in order to produce hay .