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WISH I HAD NOT BOTHERED LOOKING Grrrrrrrrrr

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AGILIS View Drop Down
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    Posted: 17 May 2014 at 9:12am
Hi Rod I like most people would have thought back in the past they just cut it down and used it as fire starting kindle or making bessom type brooms and I dont really believe there was much heathland management going on in medieval days like Ne try to have us believe to justify their planned expensive educated guess cock ups.

Edited by AGILIS - 17 May 2014 at 9:21am
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Robert V Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 17 May 2014 at 5:52am
Just seen this Keith, sorry mate, know how you feel.
 
Question from the above discussion. When should Heather be considered as "moribund"?
 
Surely even heaths that were managed in the middle ages didn't have the old heather ripped out did they?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2014 at 12:57pm
I think sadly people will look back in the future and realise that many of the schemes were misguided.

I can understand that it is a difficult task and many of our remaining heaths are derelict and in desperate need of management, but the methods currently being employed of effectively wiping the slate clean and starting over, really are not the solution. One only has to look at the sites 10 years later, in many cases the vegetation has reverted back to exactly where it was before the clearance. The only significant 'achievement' appears to be wiping out the reptiles that previously thrived at the site...

The total disregard for the ecological value of the areas in their current state seems an almost impossible to believe oversight in this day and age.

Grazing was never really a good solution to heath management. It was historically a concession for the poor to allow them to graze the heaths as good quality pasture was not available to them. The heaths do not provide good nutrition to the livestock and the damage the animals cause often outweighs any perceived benefits. 

I wonder what the answer is? Many of the funding schemes state that the works should not be detrimental to reptiles, the managers just guess and make stuff up saying it will benefit reptiles in the long-term. With no baseline data from professionally conducted survey how could they possibly have a clue what impact the proposed scheme would have on reptiles? None of my own field studies agree with their optimism...



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 25 Apr 2014 at 11:29am
Went out to my local heath for the first time this year last evening. I had seen the RSPB warden at a recent local event and he asked if I'd been out there recently as they'd made some changes which they felt would be of benefit. I'd noticed permanent fencing going up around the site perimeter last year and now a cattle grid has been put in at the site entrance (the road is private). The idea is, according to a notice attached to the cattle grid gates, the cattle and horses will now have free run of the whole heath. So no grazing temporarily enclosed areas as before. I should have taken my camera to photograph the notice.
Like everywhere else we've had lots of this scraping and piling but I believe the RSPB have stopped this because they were damaging the archaeology underneath.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2014 at 12:58pm
The amazing thing is Keith a lot of the drivers of the vehicles could do a 1 inch scrape and place the material 3 inches from your foot, they are highly skilled people. I've spent many hours doing destructive searches and have known them to spot a slow worms from the cab in the bucket and swing it over to me so I could rescue it! 

However if they are told to go in and clear the site... ...well that is exactly what they will do. 

It's just one more thing that makes my blood boil about these managers, who when caught out claim the contractors were the ones who were heavy handed. That is exactly why we do watching brief with contractors so they understand what is required and they will happily use their considerable skills at the controls to do exactly what is asked and  nothing more or less. 

If however they are told to clear a site of vegetation, who can blame them if they treat it exactly the same as they would a development site? The only difference is that on a development site we usually aim to translocate the animals first!!!!!!!!


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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2014 at 12:10pm
Yes Gemma and all the bashing is done with Cat D8 D9s etc begin to think the D stands for destroy

Edited by AGILIS - 24 Apr 2014 at 12:14pm
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2014 at 10:09am
Agreed Will, at our local adder site the management involves constant bashing of the more open areas and in the past scraping with plant machinery. Mature trees are left totally untouched and make up more than 80 percent of the site. Ponds are hidden under the trees and are dried out due to the water demands of mature treees.

It beggars belief sometimes watching it all from the outside. The obvious way forward is rotational coppice and partial clearance of the tree infill, yet all they ever do is bash the open heath areas.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 24 Apr 2014 at 7:01am
all good points Gemma; herps are often colonists of fairly recently cleared / coppiced areas, and winter removal of dense vegetation is unlikely to affect them as these are exactly the places that will have been abandoned earlier by reptiles and amphibians. One of my best London adder sites has seen counts drop from 50 a decade ago to around 10 now, simply due to scrubbing over of the brownfield habitat (rubble, embankments etc) that used to be brilliant for them. I like the idea of a rotational coppice principle for reptiles (good for Duke of Burgundy etc as well!)
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote GemmaJF Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2014 at 5:59pm
One of the problems Keith is the heathland wouldn't have survived for hundreds of years without management of some kind, the heaths would have gone into succession and now be woodlands.

Somewhere though these managers need to find a balance between the old ways heaths were managed, hand cutting by people etc with a slow change and the obliteration caused by employing contractors with plant machinery. It must go back to their education or lack of it at some point. 

Thetford Forest is a superb example of a commercially run timber business that benefits reptiles. Everything is done on rotation. If heathland managers had even the first idea about management they would employ similar techniques and have areas or strips cleared on rotation over several years. This concept seems rather beyond them though and they just obliterate entire areas without a second thought. I expect it will only take someone to claim it was the contractors fault (for doing exactly what they were contracted to do) or someone will cry in a meeting and it will all be forgotten. Again.

Herps don't need a static environment as such, in fact doing nothing even at a brownfield site in Essex would eventually see them decline as the habitat went into succession and scrubbed over and eventually supported mature trees.

If though one has a heath and clears at first parts of the most overgrown areas, herps are unlikely to be affected. As these cleared areas start to recover, they would be colonised quickly. One would then tackle the next area and so on. The herps would be moving always into the new areas as they abandoned the most overgrown and shaded parts of the heath.

So simple, how come nobody in charge of these schemes seems to get it? How come NE don't sanction sustainable management schemes like this as the way forward, instead of giving the green light to overgrazing and site trashing? 




Edited by GemmaJF - 23 Apr 2014 at 6:01pm
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AGILIS View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 23 Apr 2014 at 12:23pm
SUZY the whole NE and RSPB setup is one big quango to get euro funded cash for vandalisation of the ecosystem of this country and to place inexperienced academics in jobs that they think their status deserves like managing heaths that have survived for centuries without their 21st century interfering help.

Edited by AGILIS - 23 Apr 2014 at 12:53pm
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