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The Woodland Education Centre
The Heathland Restoration Project

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Ecological Surveys 1996 - 1998

The Effects of Management -
Brush cutting

The only significant effect of the timing of brushcutting appeared to be on Bluebells growing on the project site as a woodland remnant. The Bluebells had declined in sections 2 and 4, both of which are cut in the spring.

The distribution of most other species on the site showed little relationship to the timing of the brush cut.

Bluebells on the project site. Bluebells were initially found covering all of sections 1 - 4 (Figure below). However, they declined in abundance from 1997 - 1998, except in section 3.

Although they still occurred in sections 2 and 4 , their abundance appeared to have been greatly reduced and they did not occur in any of the samples taken in 1997 and 1998.

Sampling takes place at a time of year when the Bluebells have already died back, so it should be appreciated that the samples do not accurately reflect the true abundance of the Bluebells.


Distribution of Bluebell on the project site.

The distribution of Bluebells on the project site.
(belt transect data only)

The apparent reduction in Bluebells in sections 2 and 4 is likely to be a result of the management regime in these two sections. Sections 2 and 4 are duplicates of the same management regime which is a spring brushcut.

In the spring, the Bluebells are just regenerating after the winter. They use up reserves stored in underground bulbs to produce foliage and then the characteristic flowers. Cutting the bluebells before they have had time to replenish the reserves in the bulbs after flowering is likely to lead to their gradual elimination in these areas.



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For an
Ecological Sampling Exercise
Processing & Interpreting Raw Data
based on Bluebell distribution in strips 1 - 4 in 2002
click here


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Ecological Surveys 96 - 98