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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project

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Ecological Survey 2001

These descriptions build upon the descriptions of the sections given in the 2000 ecological survey and should be read in conjunction for maximum benefit.
Control Section 2000

Section 5 (Control)

Observations 2000 - 2001

Section 5 The control section was by now mainly composed of very tall gorse, interspersed with young trees and interlaced with brambles.

The maximum height of the section had reached 4m in places.


Section 5 - gorse, bramble and trees.  

Where there was thick gorse and bramble, the only plants growing underneath were often Bugle and the mosses Eurhynchium praelongum and Thuidium tamarascinum. The mosses were not confined to the ground, but also colonized the trunks of the gorse.

Bugle seems to be able to grow in particularly low light conditions, despite the fact that it is a creeping, ground herb, more often found in open, well lit habitats.

The number of dominant species in this section had decreased from 11 in 2000 to only 6 in 2001.

Violet, Soft Rush and Yellow Pimpernel had declined to almost nothing, while Common Bent and Raspberry had also decreased in abundance.



European Gorse in section 5. Gorse had increased substantially in this section over the year. It fact, it was the only section where there was a really significant change in gorse abundance.

In places, the gorse was becoming very leggy (left). Generally only the top-most branches remained green, while all the ones underneath were dead. When these had fallen off, clearer more open areas were left underneath where light could get in, provided the bramble wasn't too thick and tangled.

In these more open areas and in clearings where tree saplings predominated, there was more of a ground flora, composed largely of Common Bent, Green-ribbed Sedge and Bugle.


Hazel in amongst gorse in section 5. The upper half of the section contained more tree saplings, including Hazel (left),Silver Birch, willows and cherry.



Rhododendron ponticum in section 5. Rhododendron (left) was becoming well established in patches in amongst the other vegetation.


Dominant Plants in Section 5 in 2001
with figures from 2000 for comparison.

Characteristic heath species are in bold print

Species Overall % frequency Mean % Cover (all quadrats)
2001 2000 2001 2000
Bramble 100 94 57
Eurhynchium praelongum 69 88 42
Silver Birch 35 60 27
European Gorse 97 63 60
Thuidium tamarascinum 53 41 26
Bugle 36 35 4
Percentage frequency = the percentage of the total number of quadrats sampled over the whole site which contain the species. For example, a percentage frequency of 100%, means that the species was found in all quadrats sampled.


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Ecological Survey 2001