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The Harnham Water Meadows Framework Management Plan - Contents

13. Ecological surveys

13.1 There is a need to strengthen and continue the ethos of survey to identify present species of plants and animals, to quantify (where possible) the populations across the meadows, and to classify vegetation communities by the National Vegetation Classification in order to track management changes. We should also have regard for invasive species. For example, the SSSI includes NVC classes MG8 (dry) and MG5 (wet) grasslands. Variation in species composition has developed through an absence of drowning over several decades. The occurrence of marsh orchids need to be identified. On the negative side, nettles, thistles and ragwort require control. Habitat identification will includes utilisation of the soil survey. Certainly, agencies such as Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Natural England will appreciate periodic recording of species such that management decisions can be made with confidence.

13.2 The Conference agreed the desirability for permanent quadrats (that is fixed, square areas within which botanical surveys can be made), or other appropriate monitoring approach, and for a revised programme of wildlife surveys. The desirability of producing an inventory for ecological resources was supported. Grazing is to be continued and old pollards managed for bats, tree nesting birds and landscape integrity. All these ideally require monitoring. Sufficiently experienced individuals who may wish to participate are being approached.

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