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New Forest LIFE 2  project - Securing Natura 2000 Objectives in the New Forest
Introduction to LIFE 2 project
Organisations in the New Forest LIFE 2 partnership
Background to the LIFE 2 project
Conservation issues
LIFE 2 objectives
Summary of actions in the LIFE 2 project
Summary of results  from the LIFE 2 project
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 overall project assessment

The New Forest LIFE II Project has been an outstanding success, with all the project objectives achieved in full. The contract and financial management systems developed for this Project were crucial to its success, allowing the partnership to deliver the extensive actions set out at the start of this Project successfully.

The Project has resulted in the improvement in habitat quality of 4,350 hectares of the New Forest cSAC. As a result of the New Forest LIFE II Project, an estimated 20 years worth of restoration work has been completed in four years. The restoration of habitats such as wet and dry heath has already shown significant improvements and re-establishment of important species. Grazing has been reinstated in areas where it had been discontinued, encouraging the restoration of rare habitats like pasture woodland. The removal of exotic species has resulted in the regeneration of native flora and fauna, and innovative techniques have been developed to tackle difficult tasks such as the restoration of mires. Habitats eroded as a result of recreational pressures have also been successfully restored. Land purchased as part of the Project has ensured that almost 500 hectares of prime heathland habitat is under sympathetic management and protected in perpetuity.

For the first time in the history of the New Forest cSAC, an overall, integrated Management Plan has been developed. The Management Plan provides for the long-term sustainable management of the New Forest cSAC with conservation as its first priority. The Condition Assessment Monitoring Programme, developed specifically for the New Forest cSAC, allows for the overall condition of the New Forest cSAC habitats to be evaluated and monitored in the long term. A change in the ethos of the managers of the New Forest cSAC, as a result of the New Forest LIFE II Project, means that habitat management is now their first priority.

another photo The New Forest LIFE II Project has inspired partners to come together and share their knowledge and experiences within the partnership. This has enabled the establishment of a vast pool of expertise, which is now available as a resource for future conservation management for both the New Forest cSAC and beyond.

An important aspect of the New Forest LIFE II Project was to encourage the public to participate in the conservation of the New Forest cSAC. This involvement has produced a greater understanding of the processes involved in nature conservation and has raised the profile of the European Commission and Natura 2000.

The New Forest LIFE Project II has injected approximately £3 million into the local economy and facilitated job creation in the locality. The Project has resulted in at least 35-40 man-years of new employment. Skills gained in habitat management and together with increased understanding and support for nature conservation by locally employed contractors, are a valuable investment for sustainable conservation management in the future.

The New Forest cSAC is a popular tourist destination and is already under pressure from recreational needs. Balancing the importance of habitat management with recreational needs will therefore continue to be a major challenge faced by the land managers of the New Forest cSAC.

A significant amount of work has been accomplished by the New Forest LIFE Project, and more still remains to be done. Programmes for ongoing habitat maintenance have been developed for the next 5 years and a clear 20-year vision for the management of the New Forest cSAC established. Lessons learnt throughout the Project, such as the significance of restoring wetland processes, have highlighted how much more there is to be learnt and resolved. The experiences and knowledge gained by the partners through this Project will significantly contribute towards ensuring that the New Forest cSAC is managed sustainably in the long-term.

For more specific details please see the Detail Report of Activities sections in the Final Report.

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