What is it about?
This monitoring will be coordinated by the Hampshire & Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust and will be carried out by both professionals and trained volunteers. The surveyors will work with the New Forest Land Advice Service to monitor all sites which will be restored, enhanced or better managed during the delivery of the scheme.
Sites will have baseline surveys carried out before any works are undertaken, and further surveys carried out during and after the scheme so that changes in species numbers can be monitored over time.
The surveys carried out in 2016 and 2017 have provided the baseline data for 33 sites: 13 Nature’s Stepping Stones sites, seven Better Boundaries sites and 13 Working Woodland sites. This included different types of surveys such as hedgerow assessment, woodland condition assessment, fixed point photography, butterfly, bumblebee, bat surveys, breeding birds, and winter birds.
Highlights include: recording barbastelle bat, a rare woodland bat, on five of the projects sites; eight protected and/or notable bird species including bullfinch, cuckoo, house sparrow, kingfisher, linnet, marsh tit, spotted flycatcher and wheatear; and ten of the 24 UK bumblebee species.
Volunteers and students have been recruited for the 2018 surveys.
Sarah Jackson – Senior Ecologist, Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust