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Sussex Wetland Conference: Fran Southgate


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Introduction and State of Sussex Wetlands

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Sussex Wetland Conference: Fran Southgate

  1. 1. Water By Pablo Neruda Everything on the earth bristled, the bramble Pricked and the green thread Nibbled away, the petal fell, falling Until the only flower was the falling itself, Water is another matter, Has no direction but its own bright grace, Runs through all imaginable colours, Takes limpid lessons From stone, And in those functionings plays out The unrealised ambitions of the foam.
  2. 2. Water and Wetlands Working to create a Living Landscape
  3. 3. Picture of Earths Surface showing % global surface covered by water Working to create a Living Landscape
  4. 4. Images showing the way water has helped shaped our landscapes Working to create a Living Landscape
  5. 5. © David Ball/Sussex Wildlife Trust Working to create a Living Landscape
  6. 6. Water Footprints What is our daily per capita water use, and how does the use of manufacturing goods and fuels to create and transport energy alter that water footprint? Working to create a Living Landscape
  7. 7. © J Blamire Images showing human impacts on wetlands Crassula © Tim Hill Working to create a Living Landscape
  8. 8. Images showing the multiple human uses of wetlands and some of the ecosystem services that wetlands provide for us Working to create a Living Landscape
  9. 9. <ul><li>Around 40% of world species in wetlands covering less than 1% of surface </li></ul><ul><li>75% human population live in former wetlands </li></ul><ul><li>Wetlands are crucial to climate stability </li></ul>Wetland landscapes Working to create a Living Landscape
  10. 10. Emerald Damselfly © B Rainbow What is a wetland? “ Marsh, fen, peatland or water, both natural or artificial, permanent or seasonal, that is static or flowing, fresh, brackish or salt, including marine waters which at low tide do not exceed six metres depth” (RAMSAR) Working to create a Living Landscape
  11. 11. Likely Wetland Loss <ul><li>Estimated 80% loss of UK wetlands since Roman times pre AD 400 </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated 100,000 ha p.a. drained 1840 - 1880 (UK Wetland Vision) </li></ul><ul><li>Estimated 1960 - 1980 over 60% of Sussex wetlands drained (TWT, ‘96) </li></ul><ul><li>Historical evidence (1840) suggests min. 20% floodplain was wetland </li></ul><ul><li>We can only guess at how much wetland has been lost both nationally and locally </li></ul>Working to create a Living Landscape
  12. 12. 230 ha in Sussex (subject to revisions) This is only 7% of the original estimate of reedbed in Sussex Two ‘core areas’ of 20 ha at Combe Haven and Pannel Valley Three areas over 5 ha at Sompting, Walland Marsh and Pannel Valley Roughly 38 reedbeds over 1 ha What wetlands has Sussex got? Reedbeds Image © S McIntyre Working to create a Living Landscape
  13. 13. Fen Area of Sussex fen roughly 92 ha 10% of the original Sussex fen estimate Largest single unit areas in Combe Haven and Pett level (one third each of the entire Sussex fen resource) 18 fen sites over 1 hectare Working to create a Living Landscape
  14. 14. Wet Woodland ASNW cover 11 % of Sussex (43,000 ha) Soil maps imply roughly 38 % of Sussex ASNW has wetland interest 570 ha of deciduous woodland found in frequently flooded zone 300 ha (0.004 % of Sussex ASNW) is ancient floodplain woodland Around 500 ancient floodplain woodland patches, mostly small Working to create a Living Landscape
  15. 15. Coastal Habitats Little known about marine habitats 405 hectares of Saltmarsh (BRANCH data), 92% in West Sussex + Rye Chichester Harbour largest saltmarsh in the South-East region 2,000 ha of coastal and estuarine Mudflat (BRANCH) Chichester Harbour (3,000 ha) is the only large estuary in the SE Region. Only 13 official Saline lagoon sites totalling under 65 ha Five not legally protected, Only three are considered ‘natural’ lagoons Pagham and Chichester Harbours are internationally important for wintering wildfowl populations BRANCH (Biodiversity Requires Adaptation in Northwest Europe under a CHanging climate) Working to create a Living Landscape
  16. 16. Rivers and Streams Unique geology hosting rare riverine habitats Over 135 km of chalk stream. Less than 20% deemed near natural Roughly 80 % of main rivers not achieving Good Ecological Status Working to create a Living Landscape
  17. 17. Ponds UK Ponds – estimated 75% loss this century At least 17,000 in Sussex (excluding garden and urban ponds) Little idea of biodiversity value or locations of priority ponds for wildlife Six of twelve Important Areas for Ponds in SE are in Sussex: Western Rother, Sussex Heaths, Ashdown, Newhaven, Pevensey and Winchelsea Working to create a Living Landscape
  18. 18. Wet Grasslands Coastal and Floodplain Grazing Marsh (CFPGM) 14,000 ha. Of 1000 ha surveyed in Arun 50% agriculturally improved, 30% species poor and 19% diverse (sometimes improved) inundation grassland. Species-rich floodplain meadow area unknown - > 97% lost in the UK Species-poor floodplain meadow area unknown Working to create a Living Landscape
  19. 19. Total Wetland Resource of Sussex + Ponds Working to create a Living Landscape 8,089 ha or 0.02 % of Sussex TOTAL Wetland Habitats 300 ha Ancient Floodplain Woodland ? 5,000 ha in good condition CFGM 65 ha Saline lagoons 233 ha Reedbed 92.3 Fen 1,993.4 Mud flat 405.3 ha Saltmarsh Current area in Sussex Habitat
  20. 20. Sussex has some unique wetland landscapes © Graeme Lyons Working to create a Living Landscape
  21. 21. Sussex Wetland Potential Sussex is 384,000 ha in area It has an frequently inundated floodplain of 39,000 ha Naturally wet soils of 159,000 ha (some overlap with floodplain) & roughly 10,000 Km of rivers and streams Working to create a Living Landscape
  22. 22. Image showing a Beaver controlling habitat management via a computer! Working to create a Living Landscape Image © Sussex Wildlife Trust
  23. 23. Map showing the theoretical potential and best locations in the Arun valley for the creation of Base-rich fens and wet woodlands. The modelled map would require ground truthing and liaison with landowners to verify the true potential of fen creation in these areas. Catchment boundary reproduced with permission of Environment Agency. Contains Ordnance Survey data. © Crown copyright and database rights 2011. Potential for (Base rich) Fens Potential for Wet Woodlands
  24. 24. All nine modelled habitats overlayed with the existing BAP habitats
  25. 25. “ Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited, imagination encircles the world” Working to create a Living Landscape
  26. 26. Working to create a Living Landscape
  27. 27. Sussex Wetland Landscapes Project [email_address] 01273 497555