Background stock drinking. Ditches in particular are

Background – 300
words

The wildlife value of the Somerset levels includes habitats
such as wetland and grazing marsh along with species rich flood plain meadows
and pastures. The landscape of wetland and wet pasture is divided by flowing
rivers – several of which flow from the levels and moors from other National
Character areas that are found nearby. A network of drains, rhynes and ditches
are found forming a grid-like pattern on the wetlands indicates the human
interaction with this area of land. These rhynes, drains and ditches are use to
drain floodwater, wet fencing or stock drinking. Ditches in particular are an
important for providing drinking water to grazing animals found in the Somerset
levels (particularly the grasslands where they feed upon the pasture) and as a
habitat for a substantial part of the biodiversity in that area (Somerset
drainage boards consortium, 2010). Ponds found in the levels are home to many
aquatic animals. Other types of habitat found in this area are woodlands such
as Beer and Aller woods which is dominated by ash and English oak this habitat
is home to many woodland birds and invertebrates such as the Green woodpecker
which has a UK conservation status of green as well as species of high
conservation concern such as the woodcock. Grazing marsh is a priority habitat
which plays host to many invertebrates which are in turn a food source for
priority species such as the Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bat. Other priority
species include birds such as the Lapwing and Turtle Dove and invertebrates
such as the flowering rush weevil and Mistletoe Marble moth. The downs also
contain eight thousand hectares of sites of special scientific interest (SSSI)
which are maintained and contribute to the richness of the natural life of the
area as well as provide educational purposes for the public.

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Site description –
400-600 words

The preservation of priority species must be maintained by
the management of the essential components of the habitat that allow these
species to survive, priority species found on this farm include the Greater
Horseshoe bats whose population in the UK has increased gradually since the
year 1999 after a major decline of 90% that took place over the course of 100
years. The same goes for the Lesser horseshoe bat however numbers of the lesser
horseshoe bat found in the UK are a lot more than their close relatives (50,000
for the lesser compared to at least 6000 for the greater horseshoe bat
species). The Lapwing is a bird species found on the farm of high conservation
concern as it finds itself on the red list according to the RSPB it is thought
that the Lapwing has 140,000 breeding pairs and 650,000 wintering birds in the
UK they can be found on farmland and wetlands with short vegetation, the
Somerset levels are one of the areas where you’ll find the highest proportion
of lapwing sightings in the winter in the UK. The Mistletoe marble moth is another
priority species considered by Butterfly conservation.org to be nationally
scarce. This moth’s habitat is in orchards, gardens and hedgerows all of which
can be found in the farm. The Snipe is another priority species, this is a
variety of breeding wader that preys upon invertebrates and has a UK
conservation status of amber the UK population has suffered modest declines
over the last couple of decades and steep declines particular in lowland wet
grassland. There are 80,000 breeding pairs in the UK and 1,000,000 wintering
birds. The snipe can be found in environments such as wetlands and moorlands.
The curlew is yet another bird species that is found on the farm and is another
breeding wader with 66,000 breeding pairs that are found in the UK and 140,000
individual wintering birds. Despite the fact that these birds can be found all
over the UK and are active all year round the Curlew is a species of
conservation priority and is on the red list. The curlew’s natural habitats
include environments such as wetland and grassland in addition to farmland. Habitat
priorities include ancient and native woodland such as Beer and Aller woods and
also Traditional orchards and wetlands, all of which can be found (at least
partially) in the area of the farm.

Objective – 100 words

The
Objective of the management plan will take place over a number of years namely
7 and will put the areas that are considered SSSIs as a priority. The aim is to
restore and maintain the sites of special scientific interest to a favourable
condition. In addition to this this management plan will seek to develop and
maintain conservation strategies for existing areas of the farm that exhibit
unfavourable and recovering conditions. Resist any development made for leisure
or industrial purposes that will have a detrimental effect on the farm. Ensure
that water and air pollution will be reduced thereby minimising the impact.

 

 

Proposed management projects – 400 words

 

Management
options available for the farm are GS6 – Management of species rich grassland.
This is to be implemented on unit 101 as this is where the SSSI with favourable
conditions is found and as mention earlier the SSSIs will be a priority, in
addition to this the area of the farm is mainly grassland This management
option will benefit the farm as it will maintain and enhance the priority
grassland and will also be beneficial to many priority species such as the
Greater and Lesser Horseshoe bat and birds like the Lapwing and snipe.
Undesirable plants found in these areas will be controlled and the high value
plant species such as grazing marsh will be maintained. GS9 – Management of wet
grassland for breeding waders will be on unit 103 and unit 102 as these areas
have less favourable conditions for habitat and species priorities such as the
snipe and the curlew. GS10 – Management of wet grassland for wintering waders
and wildfowl will also be designated to units 103 and 102, this will benefit
the farm because, throughout the winter the pasture will have wet areas which
will attract waders. Both GS9 and GS10 will improve the quality of the SSSIs as
it will ensure the conservation of the species of breeding wader found in the
farm and furthermore will allow numbers of breeding pairs and wintering birds
to increase over time meaning species such as the Curlew will be closer in
becoming less of a species of conservation concern. BE4 – Management of
traditional orchards is another management option that will be implemented
where orchards are found. There is an abundance of biodiversity that can
benefit and thrives on the orchards being there it makes suitable foraging
ground for foraging horseshoe bats and the farm has an approximately 2571m^2
orchard. This will result in healthy orchids in differing stages of development
along with any vegetation that will help bring about an abundance of
invertebrates and birds such as scrub and tall herb vegetation. In order to
implement this management option, the orchards will need to be protected and preserved
any invasive species and scrub that may occur in the area will need to be
controlled this management option can be supplemented by BE7 – Supplement for
restorative pruning of fruit tree to safeguard the continuation of the orchard
by restoring any trees through the act of pruning and keeping deadwood on
trees.

 

 

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