UES have recently completed a National Vegetation Classification NVC survey of a woodland in Cheshire in order to inform the client of any potential impacts their development would have on species on site.

To survey the woodland canopy, 50 x 50 metre quadrats were used and all trees within those quadrats were recorded and assigned a frequency score. To survey the field and ground layer, a 2 x 2 metre quadrat was chosen and again all plants recorded and given a frequency score.

The NVC survey concluded that the woodland was a National Vegetation Classification community W10 Quercus robur – Pteridium aquilinum – Rubus fruticosus woodland typical sub-community, which is common throughout England. Field layer growth has been restricted by the dense tree canopy and so it is unlikely that any increased activity within the woodland as a result of the client will have any negative effect.

UES suggested that management of this woodland should be focussed on creating open areas by the removal of some of the Sycamore trees and non-native species such as Rhododendron. The removal of Sycamore will thin out the canopy, increasing the light reaching the ground flora, which will encourage the growth of the field layer.

To undertake an NVC survey, UES employees are certified by the Botanical Society for Britain and Ireland (BSBI) as competent to undertake botanical surveys and habitat assessments. Surveyors are regularly examined through the BSBI’s Field Identification Skills Certificate (FISC), which certifies competency to undertake phase 1 habitat surveys at level 3 and National Vegetation Classification NVC surveys at level 4.