Monitoring of forest removal and groundworks to rejuvenate dunes at Newborough Warren – Ynys Llanddwyn SSSI. Part 2. First year results for 2015

Wallace, Hillary; Jones, Laurence. 2016 Monitoring of forest removal and groundworks to rejuvenate dunes at Newborough Warren – Ynys Llanddwyn SSSI. Part 2. First year results for 2015. Bangor, Wales, NERC/Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 21pp. (Unpublished)

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Dune Forest Restoration Monitoring_Part 2, Year 1 results_Final.pdf
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In order to re-establish mobile sand in the frontal dunes area of parts of Newborough Forest, small scale felling was carried out in two zones. The West zone is just west of the rock ridge, the East zone lies between the main visitor car park and the Warren area. Within these zones, four treatments were established to examine restoration success in different areas and with different techniques, with at least 6 replicate monitoring locations per treatment per zone. The ‘treatments’ were as follows: • Dune vegetation understory with sparse or stunted tree cover (T). Trees only removed, with relict dune understory left undisturbed. • Felling and Scraping (FS). Trees, stumps and organic soil removed, stumps removed by grinding or de-stumping, litter layer and surface organic soil layer scraped and removed, to approximately 5 cm depth. • Felling only (F). Trees only removed, but soils and litter layer remain undisturbed. These are 10 x 10 m experimental plots located within treatment zone ‘FS’. • Unfelled control areas (UF). Locations behind or adjacent to felling zones, on similar substrate, and with similar tree canopy structure where possible. Experimental plots were felled in winter of 2014/15 with stumps, brash and litter removed subsequently. Two plots remained unfelled by the time of the first year resurvey. Plots were relocated in August 2015, and re-surveyed for vegetation cover and sand burial. This report focuses on analysis of 2015 (Year 1) data, and comparison with 2014 baseline data. Despite some variability in the implementation of the treatments, it has been possible to maintain sufficient replication to allow longer-term monitoring and statistically robust assessment of their efficacy in the future. The pre-restoration conditions in each zone are well characterised. However, the need to set up some new plots means that not every plot has baseline data. Overall, the first year results are encouraging. In the first year after restoration, all intervention plots saw an increase in conditions suitable for dune species recolonization, i.e. increased bare sand cover, higher soil pH (inferred from Ellenberg R scores) and higher light levels (inferred from Ellenberg L scores). The improvement in physical conditions is reflected by early increases in some typical dune species and species of open habitats commonly found in dunes, coupled with a decline in woodland species. There is an increase in wind-dispersed weedy species, which is expected to be relatively short-lived. There has been some loss of relict dune species of older more stable habitats, which was expected in the short term, but these are likely to return as succession proceeds. Ongoing monitoring is expected to show a rapid increase in species richness and, after a peak then decline of weedy species over a 2-5 year timescale, a longer-term shift towards a typical dune flora of semi-fixed dunes is expected, leading via succession to fixed dune grassland over a 40+ year period.

Item Type: Publication - Report
UKCEH and CEH Sections/Science Areas: Emmett
Funders/Sponsors: Natural Resources Wales
NORA Subject Terms: Ecology and Environment
Date made live: 05 Jul 2019 13:46 +0 (UTC)

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