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Open Habitat Survey

Client: Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES)
Duration: May - October 2012
Areas of survey: Galloway, Arran, Trossachs, Cairngorms and Skye
Project manager: Gordon Haycock
Project team: Gordon Haycock (surveyor), Data Manager, Reviewer
Outputs: Delivered 8,477ha of open habitat survey

Gordon Haycock on his bicycle undertaking an Open Habitat Survey for Forest Enterprise Scotland

Gordon Haycock undertook survey at eleven sites throughout the country, encompassing some wild and challenging sites. From the mountains of Cairngorms and Trossachs to coastal seaboard of Skye, the peat bogs of Arran to base-rich flushes of Clatteringshaws, open habitats were surveyed and reported following the standard Forest Enterprise Scotland (FES) protocol.

Gordon undertook a comprehensive survey using the 'Habitat survey method for recording UK Biodiversity Action Plan Habitats on land managed by FES' devised by Jeff Waddell (FES Open Habitats Ecologist). Survey involves recording the area of all BAP Priority Habitats and vegetation communities present within them using the National Vegetation Classification (NVC), rare and scarce plants and invasive non-native species. Recommendations for habitat restoration were made as part of the project, for example conifer removal and grip blocking to enhance and link active blanket mire.

Survey in remote locations has concomitant risks which were addressed using our standard risk assessment and lone working procedure. Surveyors follow regularly reviewed risk assessments, as well as continually assessing the level of risk using a dynamic risk assessment approach. Each surveyor adheres to our rigorous Lone Working Procedure.

Sustainable survey in the Highlands - using a bicycle to access remote locations was found to be a productive and cost effective approach when travelling between survey sites in forested areas.

Through rigorous project management Open Habitat Survey was undertaken over 84kmē to the necessary standard, meeting agreed timescales and on budget.

Example survey block:

Example Survey Block