West Weald Landscape Project Conference: West weald landscape project its aims and achievements

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Presentation from West Weald Landscape Project Conference 22 May 2014

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West Weald Landscape Project Conference: West weald landscape project its aims and achievements

  1. 1. The West Weald Landscape Project – 10 years.…and counting! Rich Howorth ex- West Weald Landscape Project Officer
  2. 2. Project Context • Drivers: landscape ecology; natural processes; naturalistic grazing; re-wilding; ‘ecosystem services’ • Inspirations: – Frans Vera, Hans Kampf, Tony Whitbread, Charlie Burrell, Butcherland fields, IALE UK • Idealistic nature state vs. mainstream land use & conservation?
  3. 3. The Team: Partnership & Staffing • West Weald Landscape Partnership 2004+, 15 bodies • Project Officer (3) to manage work from mid-2004 • Monitoring Officer from mid-2005 (temp, 1 year) • Landowner Advisor from 2009 (temp, 3 years)
  4. 4. Funding • Early support - English Nature & HLF • Environment Agency research & monitoring support • Other partner support from CDC & WSCC • BBC Wildlife Fund support for bats and pre-TCT landowner work • Major funding bid (£1/4 million) to Tubney Charitable Trust in 2008, for 2009 start over 5-year project • SWT membership appeals x2
  5. 5. Research & Monitoring • Major focus from outset • Applied rather than academic research, + IALE/BES • ‘Land Use Change and the Water Environment of the West Weald 1971-2001’ – WWLP / EA study • Butcherland succession vegetation monitoring 04/05+ • ‘The State of the West Weald’s Natural Environment 2006’ • Long-term forest plots re-survey of The Mens – Anna Swift 2006 • Barbastelle (+ other) bats population studies – Ebernoe Common (08), The Mens (09), Butcherland, wider landscape
  6. 6. Working with Landowners – development phase • Ad-hoc contacts from outset, mostly reactive work • Environmental Stewardship promotion – ELS v HLS • A few key landowner relationships developed • Barbastelle landscape ecology (flightlines, foraging) as early driver for proactive work • GIS targeting for key species groups – bats, birds & butterflies • Initial capital works – hedgerows planting especially
  7. 7. Working with the Public – becoming native? • Local schools • Volunteers & conservation works • Student projects • Walks & Talks • Events – Batz n’ Bratz, Apples & Animals • Information materials - walks guide
  8. 8. Provisional thoughts • Long project development, vs extensive baseline studies • Balance between information gathering and action • Partnership working & challenges • Difficulty of working across administrative boundaries • External funding critical to project viability and impact • Great insights and impacts realised through perseverance Evaluation? – Improved environment; & socio-economics? or “A Living Landscape – are we there yet?” Future? - WWL focus of resource effort vs rest of Sussex?
  9. 9. West Weald Landscape Project – Where We’ve Got To Petra Billings Landscape Projects Officer
  10. 10. A Living Landscape A visionary partnership project that promotes the integrated management of a viable and enhanced landscape in the West Weald for people and nature
  11. 11. WWLP Objectives • Enhanced conservation of the core forest areas • Wider landscape improvements through working with landowners and farmers • Research and monitoring eg surveys of important wildlife species • Enhanced public enjoyment of the landscape
  12. 12. Achievements: Landowner Work • >260 visits to 125 landowners of 11,000 ha (46% of project area) • English Woodland Grant Scheme: – 21 planning grants – 10 WIGs – 3 creation grants – 1 regeneration grant • Environmental Stewardship (30 farmers) – 15 HLS with ELS – Further 15 ELS only
  13. 13. 50 practical works projects: • >8500m hedgerows • 12 orchard creation or restoration • 6 woodland planting schemes • 3 scrapes Capital Works Case Study 1: Gandersgate Woodland Case Study 2: Orchard House
  14. 14. • Agri-environment funding schemes • Hedgerow management • Woodland management • Wetland management • Tree health • Meadow creation and restoration • Deer management Landowner Workshops
  15. 15. Habitat No. surveyed Results Meadows 55 28 of particular interest; condition variable with many under-managed Hedges 105 34 (33%) in favourable condition Traditional orchards 76 4 (6%) excellent 32 (48%) good 31 (46%) poor Woodlands 45 39 (88.5%) fair/good 6 (11.5%) poor Ponds 91 1 (1.3%) excellent 13 (16.9%) good 28 (35.1%) moderate 36 (46.8%) low Habitat surveys
  16. 16. • Invertebrate Survey,The Chiddingfold Forest (2009) • Wood White (2009) • Saproxylic Invertebrates of Cowdray Park (Summer 2011) • Woodpeckers and their Nest-Holes (2006, 2009) • Barbastelle Bats in the West Weald 1997 – 2008 • Baseline Audit of Bat Activity in the West Weald Landscape, 2010, 2011 and 2012 Species Surveys © Mark Monk-Terry ©Alan Price, Gatehouse Studios/SWT
  17. 17. • Developing a land management targeting framework for the West Weald Project area (2009) • Arun & Rother Catchment Habitat Potential Model (2011) • An Ecological Connectivity Approach to Planning for Adaptive Landscapes: A Case Study of the West Weald (2010) Landscape Studies
  18. 18. • Parish meetings • Wild Walks in the West Weald (15,000 copies) • Oral history project • Community habitat mapping • Community orchards • School hedge-planting Community Engagement
  19. 19. • Project website • Project newsletters x13 • Walks, talks and courses ~40 • TV and radio interviews x6 • Local press ~60 • Conference presentations x3 Dissemination
  20. 20. 1. Strength of partnership working Lessons learned
  21. 21. 2. Importance of building long-term relationships with landowners Lessons learned
  22. 22. 3. Means of targeting landowners: 1. Proximity to core forest areas 2. Barbastelle flightlines 3. Local wildlife sites 4. Grant scheme expiry/not in grant schemes 5. Results of habitat surveys Proactive Reactive► Lessons learned
  23. 23. 4. Mechanisms for engaging with landowners • Landowner workshops • Habitat surveys • Website and e-newsletter • Mailshot Lessons learned
  24. 24. What did it cost? £240,721 £246,352 Match-funding TubneyCharitable Trust £198,260 £65,749 £81,517 £5,499 Total salaries plus travel Total surveys (incl. equipment) Landowner work (capital worksplus workshops) Other costs Total Income 2009 - 2014 Total Expenditure 2009 - 2014
  25. 25. The Future? … bigger, better, more joined up
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