Summary of actions
New Forest LIFE II Project comprised 5 main areas of work:
practical conservation work (recurring and non-recurring biotope
management), the production of the New Forest cSAC Management
Plan, land purchase, communications and project management.
Practical conservation work has been a
dominant element of the Project and included the restoration
of more than 2000 hectares of dry and wet heathland through
the clearance of conifers, rhododendron, bracken and seedling
pine. The clearance of exotic species from heathland and woodland
has restored 160 hectares of this habitat, and traditional
grazing management has been reintroduced to more than 600
hectares of wood pasture.
Wetland programmes within the New Forest LIFE Project have
included the restoration of 5 hectares of bog woodland, the
improvement of conditions for Rhyncosporian on more than 170
hectares of wetland, and restoration of three Mediterranean
temporary ponds. The southern damselfly and Dartford warbler
have also benefited from more than 120 hectares of scrub clearance
and gorse restoration.
A key output from the Project has been
the production of a New Forest cSAC-wide Management Plan.
This detailed 4-part plan sets out management prescriptions
for the different habitat types within the New Forest cSAC.
Its preparation has been supported by survey work and research
to establish baseline data. A ‘Condition Assessment
Monitoring’ technique has also been developed to support
and inform the management process in the long term.
Not all the land within the New Forest
cSAC was within public ownership. Several commons on the western
edge and some important smaller pockets of land elsewhere
were in private ownership. The New Forest LIFE II Project
helped to acquire a significant block of about 500 hectares
of this land. To manage this and the rest of the New Forest
cSAC effectively, the New Forest LIFE II Project partners
purchased specialist equipment such as forage harvesters,
technology such as Geographic Information Systems and employed
specially trained staff.
Part of the Project has involved repairing
damage caused by recreational pressure. Following studies
of recreational usage and erosion, existing recreation damage
has been repaired and measures have been taken to reduce the
visitor pressures on vulnerable habitats on over 890 hectares
of the New Forest cSAC.
The New Forest LIFE II Project assisted
the Verderers in introducing the New Forest Pony Premium Scheme
to encourage the breeding of good quality ponies that are
well adapted to the rigors of their semi-wild existence on
the New Forest. The offspring of these ponies attract better
prices when sold thus helping to defray some of the costs
accrued by the commoners in depasturing their stock. This
has greatly assisted with maintaining the habitats that are
dependent upon grazing.
the 4 years of the New Forest LIFE II Project, partners have
been active in disseminating information about the conservation
importance of the New Forest cSAC and management issues that
face it. Practical workshops, seminars, conferences, guided
walks, presentations and public consultation events were organised
throughout the period of the Project. Numerous leaflets, newspaper
and magazine articles, newsletters, press releases and display
panels have been produced. Educational materials and information
and interpretation panels were also produced and erected on
sites throughout the New Forest cSAC.