Local level issues for forest habitat network for Wales

To continue taking the network approach forward these issues need to be addressed at a more local scale through the use of smaller scale case study areas.  Changing the scale of analysis from the strategic to the local scale may help to refine, validate and implement habitat networks.  Information gleaned from these case studies will provide insights and be used to inform strategic level work.

Selected case study sites

Three pilot case studies will be used to explore issues at a local scale.  The proposed case studies represent important habitat networks and represent the diversity in Welsh landscapes and a variety of different landscape issues.

Area Features of interest
‘Meirionnydd Oakwoods’ SAC
  • A large well connected area of upland oak woodland in southern Snowdonia
  • High proportion of semi-natural habitats
  • Conifer plantations and Plantations on Ancient Woodland Sites (PAWS)
  • Important open non-woodland habitats
  • Extensive Rhododendron
  • Key species include lesser horseshoe bat and Atlantic bryophytes.
Gower Peninsula
  • Gower is diverse with a microcosm of landscape issues seen across Wales
  • SAC quality woodland (‘Gower Ashwoods’)
  • Important open and coastal habitats
  • Agriculture and sub-urban land uses
  • Key species include dormouse, ancient woodland indicator vascular plants and bats.
Montgomeryshire ancient woodland
  • Concentration of small ancient and broadleaved woodlands in a relatively ‘hostile’ matrix of agricultural land
  • High quality agricultural land
  • Key species associated with ancient and semi-natural woodland will be investigated.

Refinement of networks

The use of local information will allow for the refinement of the previously identified Core and Focal Networks in each of the study areas.  To do this, modelling work will be undertaken which incorporates more detailed habitat information.  Where possible this will include further habitat information within the landscape matrix such as hedgerows, scattered trees, wood pasture and different types of scrub.  The habitat networks may also be refined by acquiring data on their habitat quality which will give an indication of the effective area of a woodland polygon and allow for an extension of the previous network modelling.

Local validation of networks

In addition to the strategic validation with species and site data, it may be possible to use the refined networks and additional species information/distribution data to produce new habitat/focal species models, for locally important species.  From this it will be possible to infer the effectiveness of the defined networks.  This work will be limited by the amount of autecological data available for selected species.

Implementation of networks

The implementation of a habitat network strategy must take into account the effects of the strategy on wider landscape sustainability issues.  The local case study scale is the appropriate stage to bring in the objectives and interests of the wider environmental and socio-economic stakeholders.


What's of interest

SAC: Special Areas of Conservation