Collingridge Ecological Consultants
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study: NVC survey of candidate SAC
Client: English Nature (EN), Hampshire.
Brief: To survey woodlands on Upper Greensand bedrock in East Hampshire, determine SSSI and SAC boundaries, locate land owners and prepare SSSI papers.
EN is the body responsible for nature conservation legislation in England. A woodland cSAC (candidate Special Area for Conservation - EU nature conservation designation) had been drawn up based on existing SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest - British nature conservation designation) in order to protect a particular woodland habitat type, but it had been found that it did not include all of the habitat in the area. Survey was needed to establish the extent of the habitat (ash woods on rocky calcareous slopes) to ensure that all the best areas were protected.
The rare habitat occurs on a particular kind of lime-rich sandstone which outcrops in east Hampshire around the village of Selborne (where the famous 18th century naturalist Gilbert White lived). We surveyed all the undesignated woodland over this bedrock, mapping it using the National Vegetation Classification (NVC - the standard terrestrial habitat classification for Britain). About 145 hectares (about 360 acres) of woodland were surveyed, of which about 24 ha (60 acres) were the rare habitat. Example habitat map.
The survey results were presented in report form, with descriptions and maps of the habitats. Sample of report.
Since SACs also have to be notified as SSSI, draft SSSI boundaries and descriptions were prepared to form the basis of EN's notification procedures. Maps and other details of land owners and managers were also prepared. The information has been used by EN to take two new SSSIs and the revised cSAC through the designation process.
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