Habitats of Wales: A Comprehensive Field Survey, 1979-1997

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Habitats of Wales presents the findings of a major field survey undertaken in the latter part of the twentieth century across the rural landscapes of Wales. Among the major types of terrestrial habitat discussed are the woodlands, grasslands, heathlands, mires, and coastlands. For each of the habitats, the authors provide distribution maps, information on habitat fragmentation and connectivity, and the debates surrounding land-use planning and nature conservation.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780708322574
  • Publisher: University of Wales Press
  • Publication date: 7/15/2010
  • Pages: 240
  • Product dimensions: 7.60 (w) x 9.80 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

T. H. Blackstock is head of the Terrestrial Science Group of the Countryside Council for Wales, where E. A. Howe, J. P. Stevens, C. R. Burrows, and P. S. Jones all serve as researchers.

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Table of Contents



The Authors


Acronyms and abbreviations used in the text

1 Introduction 1

Habitat and land use surveys undertaken in Wales during the twentieth century 8

Ecological studies of habitats and vegetation in Wales 15

2 Environmental backdrop 22

Physical geography 22

Land use in perspective 30

Atmospheric pollution 36

3 Vegetation history of Wales (P. D. M. Hughes) 40

History of palaeoecological investigations in Wales 40

The application of palaeoecology to conservation management 42

General pattern of vegetation development before major human impacts 43

Dry land vegetation evolution under anthropogenic influence 47

Holocene wetland development 52

Future palaeoecological developments in Wales 57

4 Survey methodology 58

Habitat Survey of Wales 58

Plant community surveys in Wales 70

5 Coastlands (with assistance from P. M. Rhind) 72

Conspectus 75

Management 76

Recent trends in cover 77

Plant communities of Welsh coastlands 78

Islands 79

Saltmarsh 81

Supralittoral shingle 83

Sand dune 84

Maritime cliff 86

Coastal grassland 87

Coastal heathland 88

6 Grasslands (with assistance from D. P. Stevens) 89

Conspectus 92

Management 94

Recent trends in cover 94

Plant communities of Welsh grasslands 99

Acid grassland 99

Acid grassland: semi-improved 100

Neutral grassland 101

Neutral grassland: unimproved 102

Calcareous grassland 103

Caicareous grassland semi-improved 104

Marshy grassland 105

Improved grassland 106

7 Heathlands (with assistance from J. Sherry) 107

Conspectus 108

Management 109

Recent trands in cover 110

Plant communities of Welsh heathland 111

Dry acid heathland 113

Dry acid heathland: grass-heath mosaic 114

Dry basic heathland 114

Wet heathland 115

Wet heathland: grass-heath mosaic 116

Montane heathland 116

8 Bracken 117

Conspectus 117

Management 118

Recent trends in cover 119

Plant communities of Welsh bracken 119

Continuous bracken 120

Scattered bracken 121

9 Woodlands and scrub (J. Latham) 122

Conspectus 124

Management 129

Recent trends in cover 130

Plant communities of woodland and scrub in Wales 131

Semi-uatural broadleaved and mixed woodland 133

Plantation and recently-felled woodland 134

Plantation and recently-felled woodland on ancient woodland sites 135

Scattered trees 135

Dense/continuous scrub 136

Scattered scrub 137

10 Mires 138

Conspectus 142

Management 146

Recent trends in cover 150

Plant communities of Welsh mires 151

Blanker bog 153

Blanket bog proportion modified 154

Raised hog 155

Topogenous fen and swamp 159

Soligenous fen 161

11 Rock exposures 163

Conspectus 163

Plant communities of rocky habitats in Wales 166

Acid/netural natural rock exposure 169

Basic nat rock exposure 170

Aftificial rock exposure and waste 171

12 Arable 172

Conspectus 172

Management 173

Recent trends 174

Plant communities of arable land in Wales 174

Arable 175

13 Welsh habitats: a synthesis 176

Extent of Welsh habitats 176

Uplands 180

Lowlands 182

Coastlands 186

Conifer plantations 188

Industrialised landscapes 189

14 Habitat analyses 190

Landscape Classification 190

Habitat-environment relationships 194

Habitat patch characteristics 196

Semi-natural habitat patches in lowland Wales 199

Ecological connectivity in the Welsh landscape 202

Future directions 203

Appendix 1 Principal field surveyors involved in the Habitat Survey of Wales 204

Appendix 2 Summary of the findings for Wales of the first Land Utilisation Survey of Britain 204

Appendix 3 Phase 1 habitat classes used during the Habitat Survey of Wales 206

Appendix 4 Translation developed for use in Wales of Ratcliffe and Birks (1980) upland vegetation types to Phase 1 habitat classes (Nature Conservancy Council, 1990) 207

Appendix 5 Reports produced during the lowland and upland programmes of the Habitat Survey of Wales 209

Appendix 6 The Phase 1 classification of mires 212

Appendix 7A Areas of Phase 1 habitats recorded in the thirteen Watsonian vice-counties of Wales by the Habitat Survey of Wales 213

Appendix 7B Phase 1 habitat diversity and % cover of seminatural habitats recorded in the thirteen Watsonian vice-counties of Wales by the Habitat Survey of Wales 215

References 216

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