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Thames and Chilterns Team Foxhold House Thornford Road Crookham Common Thatcham Berkshire RG19 8EL Tel: +44 (0)1635 268881 Fax: +44 (0)1635 268940 Email:email@example.com CHILTERNS BEECHWOODS CANDIDATE SPECIAL AREA FOR CONSERVATION ELLESBOROUGH AND KIMBLE WARRENS SSSI Conservation objectives for the European interest on the SSSI The conservation objectives for the European interest on the SSSI are subject to natural change, to maintain*, in favourable condition, the internationally important beech woodland habitat (NVC type W12, W14). subject to natural change, to maintain*, in favourable condition, the internationally important dry grassland and scrubland habitat (NVC type CG2). * maintenance implies restoration if the feature is not currently in favourable condition. The conservation objectives for the Chilterns Beechwoods candidate Special Area of Conservation are, in accordance with para C 10 of PPG 9, the reasons for which the cSAC was designated. Annex Favourable Condition Table. ELLESBOROUGH AND KIMBLE WARRENS SSSI The Favourable Condition Table will be used by English Nature and other relevant authorities to determine if a site is in favourable condition. It will form the basis for monitoring the condition of the site and its features, undertaken by English Nature in pursuance of its duties under Regulation 3(2) of the Habitats Regulations 1994. Favourable condition is achieved when the targets given below are met. The favourable condition table should inform the scope and nature of any ‘appropriate assessment’ under the Habitats Regulations, but an appropriate assessment will also require consideration of issues specific to the individual plan or project. The favourable condition table does not by itself provide a comprehensive basis on which to assess plans and projects as required under Regulations 20-21, 24, 48- 50 and 54 - 85. The scope and content of an appropriate assessment will depend upon the location, size and significance of the proposed project. English Nature will advise on a case by case basis. Following appropriate assessment, competent authorities are required to ascertain the effect on the integrity of the site. The integrity of the site is defined in para C10 of PPG9 as the coherence of its ecological structure and function, across its whole area, that enables it to sustain the habitat, complex of habitats and/or the levels of populations of the species for which it was classified. Operational Criterion Attributes Measures Targets Comments feature feature Semi-natural Asperulo- 1. Area Extent/location of * No loss of mature * Stand loss due to natural processes may be acceptable. woodland Fagetum stands stands * Stand destruction may occur if understorey and ground flora beechwoods are irretrievably damaged, even if canopy remains intact. (W12, * At least current area of * Loss = 0.5 ha or 0.5% of the stand area, whichever is smaller. including areas recent semi-natural * 20% canopy cover is conventionally taken as the lower limit of pure box, stands maintained, for an area to be considered as woodland. W14) although their location * Beech may not be abundant throughout the stand, particularly may alter. in regeneration patches; this does not count as stand loss. * Area/location of stands was mapped in 1997 by Jane *No reduction in area of Barneveld. mature woodland 2. Natural Age/size class * At least the current * Any changes leading to exceedance of these limits due to processes and variation within level of structural natural processes are likely to be acceptable. structural and between diversity maintained. * The understorey ranges from virtually non-existent to development stands; presence of * Understorey (2-5m) impenetrable box. open space and old present over 10-80% of trees; dead wood total stand area. lying on the * Ground flora present *Virtually no ground flora in box dominated areas. ground; standing over at least 10% of area dead trees or current extent in mature stands, whichever is greater. * Canopy cover present *Wood is predominantly even-aged high forest. Objective is to over 30-90 % of stand have predominantly high forest with mixed age structure, ie area. c.80% mature stands, 10% >150yrs, 10% open stands <30 yrs. * Age class structure appropriate to the site, its history and management. * A minimum of 3 fallen lying trees >20 cm * Assess this attribute between mid April and early June. diameter per ha and 10 trees per ha allowed to die standing. 3.Regeneration Successful * Signs of seedlings * A proportion of gaps at any one time may develop into potential establishment of growing through to permanent open space; equally some current permanent open young stems in saplings to young trees at space/glades may in time regenerate to closed canopy. gaps or on the edge sufficient density to * Regeneration may often occur on the edge of woods rather of a stand. maintain canopy density than in gaps within it. over a 10 yr period (or * The minimum level of regeneration to be acceptable from a equivalent regrowth from nature conservation viewpoint is likely to be much less than that coppice). needed where wood production is also an objective. * No re-stocking by * Areas of pure box do not appear to require management for planting. maintenance of favourable condition, although small scale coppicing may be beneficial for Metzgeria fruticulosa in suitably humid locations. * Assess this attribute in spring/summer. 4. Composition Cover of native * At least 90% cover in * Sycamore is a widespread component in parts of the Chilterns versus non-native any one layer of site- Beechwoods at present but should not be permitted to take a species (all layers) native or acceptable dominant role in the canopy and should be excluded from units naturalised spp. where it is currently absent or rare. * Beech present in * In several places box forms virtually 100% of stand area. mature canopy at at least * Where cover in any one layer is less than 100% then the 90% Death, destruction 30% cover for feature on target applies to the area actually covered by that layer. or replacement of site as a whole. * Factors leading to the death or replacement of woodland native woodland * Death, destruction or species could include pollution, eutrophication from adjacent species through replacement of native farmland, new diseases. effects of non- woodland species * Damage to trees by squirrels that does not lead to their death native fauna or through effects of or replacement by non-woodland species is not necessarily external unnatural introduced fauna or other unacceptable in nature conservation terms. factors external unnatural factors * Excessive browsing/grazing by even native ungulates may be not more than 10% by considered an unnatural external factor where it leads to number or area in a five undesirable shifts in the composition/structure of the stand, year period. although this may be picked up by attributes 2 or 5 anyway. 5. Species, Ground flora type * 80% of ground flora * Changes leading to these targets not being met may be habitats, cover referable to W12. acceptable where this is due to natural processes. structures Distinctive and characteristic of desirable elements *Some areas of the site. transitional box scrub Patches of through to grassland associated habitats should be maintained. and transitions *At least current extent of box dominated scrub maintained, although location may change. * At least some areas of box scrub should be maintained in suitable condition to support Metzgeria fruticulosa. *At least current extent of box understorey maintained. * At least current extent of open glades maintained, and where possible, extended. Unimproved CG2 *Extent Total area (27ha). No reduction in area and Recoverable reduction = unfavourable; non-recoverable calcareous Area mapped in any consequent reduction = partially destroyed. Excludes bare ground associated grassland 1994 by G. Steven fragmentation without with rabbit warrens (see below). prior consent Unimproved *Sward Frequency of At least four species/taxa Choice of species related to NVC type and restriction to calcareous composition: positive indicator frequent plus at least unimproved grassland, considered satisfactory when inside grassland positive indicator species in May- three species/taxa target. Among possible species that could be used, choice species July. occasional throughout the further restricted by ease of identification, visibility in recording Anthyllis vulneraria, sward. period. Asperula cynanchica, Campanula glomerata, Cirsium acaule, Filipendula vulgaris, Gentianella spp., Helianthemum nummularium, Hippocrepis comosa, Leontodon hispidus, Leucanthemum vulgare, Linum catharticum, Lotus corniculatus, Hieracium pilosella, Plantago media, Polygala spp., Primula veris, Sanguisorba minor, Scabiosa columbaria, Succisa pratensis, Thymus spp. Unimproved *Sward Proportion of non- 40-90% Low proportion outside target indicates eutrophication, usually calcareous composition: Graminae (“herbs”), from fertilisers, or insufficient removal of biomass, leading to grassland grass/herb ratio in period May -July. dominance by grasses. Unimproved *Sward % cover of Neither species at more Outside target indicates insufficient removal of biomass eg calcareous composition: Brachypodium than 10% cover under-grazing. grassland negative pinnatum and indicator species Bromopsis erecta, in May-July. Unimproved *Sward Frequency and Nonemore than Invasive species chosen to indicate problems of eutrophication calcareous composition: cover of negative occasional throughout or and disturbance from various sources when outside target eg grassland negative indicator species in singly or together more poaching, stock feeding. indicator species May-July. than 5% cover Cirsium arvense, Cirsium vulgare, Rumex crispus, Rumex obtusifolius, Senecio jacobaea, Urtica dioica. Unimproved *Sward Frequency and No more than 5% cover. Invasive species outside target shows that habitat is not being calcareous composition: cover of all tree and managed sufficiently eg under-grazed. grassland negative shrubs considered indicator species together, in May- July. NB If scrub/tree species are more than occasional throughout but less than 5% cover, they are soon likely to become a problem if grazing levels not sufficient or if scrub control not being carried out. Unimproved Sward structure: Sward height in Between 2-10 cms. Outside target indicates insufficient grazing or over-grazing. calcareous average height May-July. grassland Unimproved Sward structure: Cover of litter Total extent no more than Outside target indicates biomass removal is insufficient eg calcareous litter where in more or 25% of the sward under-grazed. grassland less continuous layer, distributed in patches or one larger area, in May- July. Unimproved Sward structure: Extent of bare No more than 10%. Outside target indicates management problems eg over-grazing. calcareous bare ground ground distributed grassland through sward, visible without disturbing the vegetation, in May- July. Unimproved Sward structure: Extent of localised No more than 0.05 ha ie Outside target indicates rabbit grazing and disturbance levels are calcareous localized bare bare ground around approximately 20x20 too high. grassland ground rabbit warrens. metres
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