Ecosulis services & outcomes

Biodiversity survey & design

Over the last 30 years the RSPB has managed Aylesbeare reserve heathland by grazing, burning and bracken (fern) control. To asses the impact of these management techniques, plant biodiversity data was collected in quadrats at relevant sites. Control data was also collected for comparison purposes.

Biodiversity valuation: the BQC

Biodiversity is complicated and cannot be measured using species richness data alone. By using plant quadrat data to calculate a number of biodiversity variables, Ecosulis's proprietary Biodiversity Quality Calculator (BQC) tool was able to analyse the effects of various management techniques on the reserve's heathland plants.

Optimum management techniques

Over the last 30 years, the highest plant biodiversity on the reserve has resulted from management by burning, followed by grazing. Burning has also resulted in a better distribution of plant species. When cattle grazing was used to manage the reserve, more rare species were found than when other methods were applied.

More Information

  • Aylesbeare Common reserve supports a special variety of bird species¬† as the Dartford warbler, nightjar, stonechat, tree pipit and yellowhammer.
  • By calculating the plant biodiversity baseline in the reserve, the land manager could decide on best practices which result in a tangible change in biodiversity. This is in accordance with the global goal for biodiversity which states that we must address underlying causes of biodiversity loss. The aim of undertaking a biodiversity assessment is therefore to inform future decisions on the management of heathlands, as well as other habitats.

Contact

Head Office

The Rickyard
Newton St Loe
Bath, BA2 9BT
Tel: 01125 874040
Fax: 01225 874554