The ecology of British upland landscapes. I. Composition of landscapes, habitats, vegetation and species

Bunce, Robert G.H.; Wood, Claire M. ORCID:; Smart, Simon M. ORCID: 2018 The ecology of British upland landscapes. I. Composition of landscapes, habitats, vegetation and species. Journal of Landscape Ecology, 11 (3). 120-139.

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A primary requirement for policy objectives is reliable figures on the composition of any region. Currently there is no comprehensive, definitive set of statistics for the British Uplands, hence the present paper. An overview of the background to the region is first provided, together with some examples of the available figures and a discussion of their limitations. The paper uses a formal structure, with landscapes at the highest level followed by habitats, then vegetation, and finally species, with exact definitions of the categories applied at all levels. The figures are produced from a survey of stratified, random one kilometre squares. The tables give comprehensive figures for Great Britain (GB) as a whole, and also England, Wales and Scotland. The Uplands are shown to cover 38 % of the country. In terms of UK Broad Habitats, Bog is the most common overall (2062 k ha). It is estimated that 41 % of upland vegetation in Britain is grazed by sheep, and Cervus elephus (red deer) are particularly evident in Scotland. Walls (mainly drystone) are the most important linear feature (84 k km) but hedgerows (30 k km) are also widespread. The major vegetation classes are those linked to moorlands and bogs (about 25 %) but those associated with fertile soils are also common (10 %). In terms of species, Potentilla erecta (tormentil) is the most frequent species with four other acid grassland species in the top ten. Calluna vulgaris (ling heather) has the highest cover in Great Britain (14.8 %).

Item Type: Publication - Article
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Soils and Land Use (Science Area 2017-)
ISSN: 1805-4196
Additional Information. Not used in RCUK Gateway to Research.: Open Access paper - full text available via Official URL link.
Additional Keywords: stratified random sampling, standard habitat categories, comprehensive national estimates, vascular plant species, linear features, Brexit
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 15 Feb 2019 11:58 +0 (UTC)

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