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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project

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Ecological Surveys 1996 - 1998

Other Heath Species on the Project Site.

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Changes in mean % cover of some heath species 1996 - 1998
Many other plants characteristic of heathland communities were present on the project site. (These species are marked with an asterisk * in the species list.)

Bristle Bent (Agrostis curtisii) was gradually spreading, as were sedges such as Green-ribbed Sedge (Carex binervis) and Pill Sedge (Carex pilulifera), which are characteristic of heathlands.

Tormentil (Potentilla erecta) was also very slowly increasing in abundance.

Other heath species occurring on the site included Heath Woodrush (Luzula multiflora) and Heath Speedwell (Veronica officinalis). Overall, the indications were that the vegetation on the project site was gradually shifting towards becoming a dry heath community.

Heath species require acid soils, low in nutrients. The soils are acidic on the project site, with a pH ranging from 4.0 - 5.0. Many of the plants found over substantial areas of the project site were species which have a strong preference for acid soils. These included all the heath species mentioned above, plus species such as Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea), Rowan (Sorbus aucuparia), Eared Willow (Salix aurita) and the moss, Polytrichum formosum.

Slender St John's-wort on the project site. Many of the plants were species which also specifically avoid lime. For example, Slender St. John’s-wort (Hypericum pulchrum - left), which occurred over virtually the whole area, is an indicator of soils deficient in calcium salts.

The soils may be more fertile than is normal for heathland, as indicated by the presence of species such as the moss, Brachythecium rutabulum. It is likely that over time, continued leaching of the soils by rainfall, and the cutting and removal of vegetation, will further lower the pH and reduce the nutrient status of the soil to more optimum conditions for heathland plants.


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Ecological Surveys 96 - 98