Wednesday, 6 May 2015

New resource for heathland managers

Boldrewood Heath, New Forest
Image: C. Chatters
Martin Rand, VC Recorder for South Hampshire, has been in touch to tell us about a new resource which he describes a "terrific piece of work" which will "strike a chord with many BSBI members". 

The work in question is a report called 'Our Heaths: a summary of the evidence which informs the management of heathlands for wildlife' and you can download it free of charge from the website of Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust here.

Pilularia globulifera
Image: C. Chatters
The author is Clive Chatters, Head of Conservation (Policy and Evidence) at the Trust. Clive told me "the purpose of this report is to meet the needs of those who want to have a deeper understanding of why we manage heaths, particularly why we graze them". 

Crab Tree Bog, New Forest
Image: C. Chatters
As the report points out, species such as Pilularia globulifera require well-illuminated, bare open heathland habitats and if these scrub over, the species will be negatively impacted. That's why grazing (at the right pressure and at the right times) is so important.

A quick look through shows that the names Pearman and Rackham and Rose are cited and the references, which extend over 7 pages, show that this is a serious piece of work, hence Martin's enthusiasm. Nicely written too - there is a great quote from Francis Rose in there, on the subject of grazing: "The JCB is this interglacial's woolly mammoth" and Clive notes Rose's influence on the Trust's management of heathlands.

If you are actively involved in heathland management, why not take a look at the report and leave a comment below, letting us know what you think?