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New Forest LIFE 2  project - Securing Natura 2000 Objectives in the New Forest
Introduction to LIFE II project
Organisations in the New Forest LIFE 2 partnership
Background to the LIFE 2 project
Conservation issues
LIFE 2 objectives
Actions summary
Results summary
Project Assessment
Final Technical Report
New Forest Special Area of Conservation Management Plan 2001

New Forest LIFE 3 Project - Sustainable Wetland Restoration in the New Forest
Natura 2000

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Summary of actions

The 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.

Throughout 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.

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