Ecological Monitoring

Many developments require the monitoring of their impacts on habitats. Poorly designed monitoring programs can result in ambiguous, inconclusive results that do not help the client. Careful design and analysis may indicate that the project requires a tailor-made sampling and monitoring programme rather than an “off-the-shelf” design. Where the exact location and extent of key community types needs to be established, a more sophisticated system of sampling the vegetation is used, such as quadrats taken on a grid, with the data analysed using various spatial statistical methods, such as Kriging analysis.

I can provide cost effective solutions to the monitoring of impacts on vegetation and habitats with appropriate levels of sampling to give reproducible methods that can detect changes that are robust.

The monitoring of rare slender yokemoss (Zygodon gracilis) under licence from English Nature in 2002 and then again in 2012 showed that the two sexes were largely confined to drystone walls in a small part of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Very few populations have both sexes present in close proximity and may be one reason for its rarity.

Ecological Impact Assessments

Derelict mine
A derelict lead mine near Alston in Cumbria where the legacy of contamination has selected for species of plant tolerant to the high concentrations of lead and other heavy metals. This includes alpine scurvy-grass (Cochlearia pyrenaica), a member of the cabbage family that is also tolerant of moderately saline conditions.

I have had many years experience of carrying out ecological impact assessments, including the impacts of nutrients and toxins on the vegetation and habitats of various types of wetland. Wetlands are particularly vulnerable to enhanced nutrient inputs from various sources as they are natural sinks for contaminated wastes being deposited on land or released into water courses.

Advice can also be given on whether developments comply with legislation and the type of mitigation that may be required to satisfy the requirements of the planning system.

Heat map
A ‘heat map’ produced by Kriging analysis showing the probability of ‘High’ herbivore impacts in an area of Scotland.