Habitat and Species Monitoring
Written by: Jackie Ullyett
The project has provided and mapped baseline information and digitised monitoring data (species data and habitat improvements) for projects that were part of the Greensand Country Landscape Partnership ‘Living Heaths/Working Woodlands’ and the ‘Historic Parkland’ themes. The project has supported ongoing monitoring, data management and evaluation for each project to show change over the period of the project in a spatial, scientific and robust manner. It has illustrated the impact of the various project interventions and has allowed the data for each project to be maintained in a structured and standardised way so that outputs can be visualised individually for each project but also show how each individual project has an impact on ecological networks at the wider Greensand Country Landscape Partnership level. A secondary aim is for the information recorded to be accessible beyond the project, for integration into future projects and used with other data held by the BRMC.
The baseline mapping for all projects and completion monitoring maps for all projects have been completed, which is a total of:
- 13 Baseline monitoring maps for ‘large’ projects
- 9 Completion monitoring maps for ‘large’ projects
- 14 Baseline monitoring maps for ‘small’ projects (third party grant schemes)
- 14 Completion monitoring maps for ‘small’ projects (third party grant schemes)
- Composite maps for the start and end of the project (2 maps showing the whole area – plus ‘Public’ versions)
- Composite maps for the start and end of the project (8 maps showing the 4 sub areas – plus ‘Public’ versions)
- All the information for each of the projects has been collated and the final maps produced on time and to budget.
Benefits to People
This was not a project that involved engaging people with heritage directly, but information and maps produced by the BRMC supported other projects in doing this. It enabled the Bedfordshire Natural History Society volunteers to survey some areas that are not usually open to the public, and the data collected will help to build a better picture of species distributions across the Greensand Country area and linkages across the landscape.
Benefits to Heritage & Landscape
Sites have been mapped in detail and the information from surveys will help to influence ongoing management.
Information provided by the BRMC will have been included in the reports provided to the Historic Parkland owners, which will influence the future management of sites. Information gathered from all the surveys, for Parkland sites, plus the larger and smaller project areas across the Greensand Country area, have improved the habitat information that the BRMC holds. Species records collected by the Bedfordshire Natural History Society volunteers will be added to the BRMC database helping to improve our knowledge of species across the landscape. All this information will help to inform future management of sites and show changes through time as surveys are carried out in the future.
Challenges & Lessons Learnt
The timing of each of the different elements of the project were not as had been anticipated. Much of the baseline mapping was completed in the final year rather than the first year as applications for the smaller projects took a long time to come through the system. There were fewer small projects than initially anticipated, and much less work completed on the large Parkland sites than anticipated at the outset.
These issues were overcome by extending the project deadline to ensure the information required had been supplied to the BRMC to be able to produce the maps required, and a reduction in the budget estimated at the outset as fewer projects were required.
The quarterly reporting was a very time consuming and complicated process. Simplifying the reporting process would be helpful.
For a project such as LH5 much of the work was reliant on other people providing information and the encouragement/advertising for small projects to take part in the program happened quite late. This needed to be done at the very start of the whole Greensand Country project so that projects were coming through throughout the 5 year program rather than most of them coming through quite late on which then put back the mapping work.