In recognition of the growing importance of brownfield (or ‘open mosaic habitat’) for invertebrates, BSG Ecology is delighted to announce that it is working closely with Buglife – the Invertebrate Conservation Trust – through the joint funding and development of research into restoration and habitat creation techniques for brownfield sites.
The study site for this research sits close to Buglife’s Peterborough headquarters, within the O&H Hampton managed site, south of Peterborough. In spring 2007, O&H Hampton, under the guidance of BSG Ecology, embarked on a pilot project to create open mosaic habitat for invertebrates across an area of approximately 2 hectares. The preparatory works that took place involved the spreading of inert materials, including brick rubble (that was later crushed), sand and gravel, concrete, and sectioned logs of felled trees.
Six years on, initial observations seem positive. The area has started to become vegetated and now comprises a patchwork of bare ground, sparsely vegetated areas, and developing species rich neutral grassland. Some areas retain water during wetter months and, as such, plants typical of temporarily waterlogged soils are present. Yet we presently know little of the invertebrate fauna that has colonised this habitat. By teaming up with Buglife, we aim to answer some of the many questions we have such as: how do different substrates perform? …can created open mosaic habitat support priority species (Section 41/42 of the NERC Act)? …and can creation of open mosaic habitat be an effective compensation measure?
Using our research grant, Buglife are seeking to unlock match-funding to further develop the project. Discussions are underway to establish a comparison site (on O&H Hampton land), where open mosaic habitat creation will be created in early 2014. Over the next twelve months, Buglife will undertake invertebrate surveys of the existing pilot project, and potentially the new site. A range of specialists will be used for survey, ID, analysis and reporting, including oversight from BSG Ecology’s experienced entomological team.
With increased pressures from development on brownfield sites, there is a growing need to understand more clearly the impacts and opportunities associated with such development on important invertebrate communities. Accordingly, the timing of our research could not be better. On Thursday 31 October 2013, Buglife held a one day conference aimed at ecologists, planners, consultants, land managers, NGO’s and developers.
If you would like to discuss this article please contact Jim Fairclough
Oxford: 01865 883833