Manage heather habitats

Why?

 

To promote a healthy diverse landscape

Internationally-important amounts of heather-covered moorland is found in Wales.

It is the lifeline for the majority of Britain’s rarest bird species. In recognition of their conservation value, the PMP sits in areas designated SSSIs (Sites of Special Scientific Interest) under the EC Habitats Directive and therefore needs protection.

Managing the heather is key to the recovery of the birdlife and to also prevent wildfires from destroying the habitat and release the carbon that the land has locked up over millennia.

That’s why the work of the moorland keepers is crucial, working towards an integrated moorland management so that a mosaic of heather can be created with the shorter heather providing nutritious food (the only food source for grouse) leaving the longer heather to provide protection from predators which are waiting to pounce both on the ground and from above.

To develop a sustainable, resilient moorland adopting traditional management to avoid reverting to scrub and woodland, we are undertaking a programme of rotational cutting and burning to help regenerate heather growth which provides a diversity in the age of the heather.

The PMP aims to find the balance and is taking expert advice from other UK moors where heather is in a favourable condition.

Moorland keepers are also focused on managing the habitat to support the delivery of the ecosystems services that the land provides e.g by repairing tracks to reduce water run-off.

Typically the vegetation on these moorlands comprise a mosaic of dwarf shrubs such as ling, bilberry, crowberry, and bell heather interspersed with bracken, common sedge and gorse.

In the wetter areas cross-leaved heath, purple moor-grass, bog asphodel, cotton grass and the insectivorous sundew can be found with an under storey of mosses, often including carpets of sphagnum species.

The Powys Moorland Partnership is an ambitious and exciting 3 year collaborative project to improve large areas of moorland by:

promoting moorland biodiversity

managing heather habitats

balancing moorland recreation with natural resources and wildlife

engaging with local communities

This project is funded from the Sustainable Management Scheme under the Welsh Government’s Rural Communities Rural Development Programme

Keep in touch, get involved.

We will be putting on various events over the next 6 months. If you would like to get involved, have some ideas please contact Catherine on urmyc.sdnalroomsywop@tcatnoc

Powys Moorland Partnership