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Landscape of special area of conservation - N2K project

Conservation Management Plans for 7 Special Areas of Conservation

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Northern Ireland is home to iconic and important nature and wildlife of both national and international importance. Some key areas for nature conservation have been designated as Special Areas of Conservation (SAC). Unfortunately, many SACs are not in good health.

We have developed Conservation Management Plans for seven of these SACs which map out the measures required for addressing pressures and threats affecting the features for which these sites have been designated.

Project name

Conservation Management Plans for 7 Special Areas of Conservation

 

Client

Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs (DAERA)

Location

Northern Ireland

 

Services provided:

  • Habitat mapping
  • Ecology
  • Pressure and impacts assessment
  • Conservation management plans
Landscape of special area of conservation - N2K project

Solution

We developed Conservation Management Plans on behalf of DAERA based on their standard approach:

Feature/Habitat Mapping Review

Given the scale of the SACs under this project e.g., Upper Lough Erne, we developed an innovative approach to the preparation of the habitat mapping, using a combination of existing information, earth observation data acquired as part of the project, including high resolution aerial photography, LiDAR, oblique aerial imagery, and field surveys.  Each site was then divided into management units based on key habitat features and significant pressures present to allow  for focused implementation of measures.

Pressures and Threats Review

We undertook an exercise to identify pressures and threats that had the potential to impact on the conservation objectives of each site.  Due to the scale of the SACs, the characterisation of the pressures and threats was undertaken using high resolution aerial photography and oblique photography captured as part of the project and supplemented by field surveys of habitats, e.g., woodlands and high-quality grasslands. The pressures and threats where then included in a project database and Geographic Information System (GIS) for all 7 SAC sites which can be queried to establish key issues impacting on the condition of the SAC features.

Conservation Management Plans

We then developed Conservation Management Plans, including a programme of measures specific to each management unit within the SAC.  The plans will provide an action plan to improve the conservation status of these SACs and their qualifying features.

7,450

hectares of habitat mapped

10,000 +

individual pressures and threats identified across the 7 SACS

7

Conservation Management Plans produced