Following a generational change in the estate management we were commissioned to undertake an overview ecological survey of a 350 hectares commercial forestry estate. There are some fine oak plantations on the Estate, but recent hardwood planting has suffered from grey squirrel damage. The Estate wanted to ensure that current commercial practices were aligned to and compliant with recent legislation and also identify areas to focus on for improved conservation management. Leaving the land in better heart for the next generation while working within a commercial context remains a challenge for all foresters!
The survey required an assessment of ecological interest for the main woodlands and woodland compartments, largely determined by tree species, woodland structure and groundflora indicator species. We were also able to cross reference results with old estate maps dating back to 1749.
The survey identified sensitive areas of higher conservation value, and recommended adjustments to future management within the commercial context. This included identifying potential future survey work, and identifying sites where management needed to be seasonally planned, including to account for the likely presence of dormice.
The results assisted the estate managers maintain legal compliance and also continue to work to the highest industry standard, the UK Woodland Assurance Scheme (UKWAS).