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Lowland grassland non-statutory site condition assessment


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Lowland grassland NON-STATUTORY SITE condition assessment (v 06/07/06)


Site Name:


NVC type: Lowland acid grassland, U1e, U3, U4a, U4c, U4/U20-related (species-rich bracken)
Unit/subdivision reference Date. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .


Condition: Favourable maintained / Favourable recovered / Unfavourable improving / Unfavourable no change / Unfavourable declining / Partially destroyed / Destroyed

Recommended visiting period: end of April - July but periodically visit between end June-end September to assess Pteridium cover.

Recommended frequency of visits: Site-specific decision

Key management activities affecting condition to discuss with manager:

Grazing intensity/stocking rate FYM input

Grazing period Other inputs

Supplementary feeding Stock type

Scrub and weed control Rolling and chain harrowing

Burning Bracken management



Attribute (*= mandatory attribute. One failure among

mandatory attributes = unfavourable condition)


Target


Estimate for attribute

*Extent of community (recoverable reduction = unfavourable; non-recoverable reduction = partially destroyed).




No loss without prior consent


(Describe and refer to map)


*Sward composition: U3 only -frequency and % cover of Agrostis curtisii.


At least frequent throughout the sward but no more than 80% cover




*Sward composition: frequency of positive indicator species/taxa.



Anenome nemorosa ( ),*Calluna vulgaris ( ), Campanula rotundifolia ( ), Cladonia spp. ( ),*Erica spp. ( ), Galium saxatile ( ), Galium verum ( ), Lathyrus linifolius (=L. montanus) ( ), Lotus corniculatus ( ),

Pedicularis sylvatica ( ), Pilosella officinarum (=Hieracium pilosella) ( ), Polygala spp. ( ), Potentilla erecta (   ),

Rumex acetosella ( ), Serratula tinctoria ( ), Stachys officinalis ( ), Succisa pratensis( ),

Teucrium scorodonia (   ), *Vaccinium myrtillus ( ), Veronica officinalis ( ), Viola spp. ( ).

*Note: If cover of ericaceous species (Calluna vulgaris, Erica spp., Vaccinium myrtillus) is greater than 25%, the habitat is heathland and thus its condition would be unfavourable if grassland is the conservation interest feature.




U1e, U4a,

U3
At least one species/taxa frequent and two species/taxa occasional throughout the sward [See *species note]




U4c,

U4/U20-related
At least one species/taxa frequent and three species/taxa occasional throughout the sward [See*species note]


* Sward composition: frequency and % cover of Pteridium aquilinum. NB If Pteridium in U1e, U3 or U4 is more than occasional throughout the sward but less than 20% cover, it is soon likely to become a problem if no management such as cutting or rolling is being carried out.




U4/U20-related

50-90% cover




U1e, U3, U4

No more than 30% cover




*Sward composition: frequency and % cover of negative indicator species/taxa.


Chamerion angustifolium ( ), Cirsium arvense ( ), Cirsium palustre ( ), Cirsium vulgare ( ), Plantago major ( ), Senecio jacobaea ( ), Urtica dioica ( ).

No species/taxa more than occasional throughout the sward or more than 5% cover






Attribute (*= mandatory attribute. One failure among

mandatory attributes = unfavourable condition)


Target


Estimate for attribute

*Sward composition: frequency and % cover of all scrub and tree species, considered together, including Rubus fruticosus agg. but excluding Rhododendron species, and in U3 only excluding Ulex species. NB If scrub/tree species are more than occasional throughout the sward but less than 5% cover, they are soon likely to become a problem if grazing levels are not sufficient or if scrub control is not being carried out.


No more than 5% cover




*Sward composition, U3 only: % cover of Ulex species


No more than 30% cover




*Sward composition: % cover of Rhododendron species


No more than 1% cover




*Sward composition: % cover of coarse grasses eg Holcus lanatus, Dactylis glomerata.


No more than 20% cover




Sward structure: average height, excluding Pteridium aquilinum.





U1e, U3, U4a,

1-5 cm




U4c, U4/U20-related

3-10 cm


Sward structure: cover of litter in a more or less continuous layer, distributed either in patches or in one larger area.




U1e, U3, U4

Total extent no more than 25% of the sward






U4/U20-related

5-50%


Sward structure: extent of bare ground (not rock) distributed through the sward, visible without disturbing the vegetation.


No more than 10%




Sward structure: rabbit grazing and disturbance levels, localized bare ground around rabbit warrens.


No more than 0.05 ha ie approximately 20x20 metres






Structured walk recording form

Frequencies: totals out of 20 stops. 1-4 = rare, 5-8 = occasional, 9+ = frequent or more





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