Invasive species removal clears the way for wildlife
Monday 28th November 2016
Removal of invasive rhododendron swamping Arrowsmith Coppice in Poole has created space for the regeneration of wildlife such as heather and purple moor grass, and allowed better access for local people, which had impassable areas before the project started.
Conservation work carried out by staff and volunteers from Borough of Poole and Dorset Wildlife Trust (DWT) as part of the Great Heath Living Landscape project, started in September 2014 with a Community Payback group, and then followed with volunteering from various additional groups including Richmond Fellowship, Verwood Centre and Quay school.
Rhododendron smothers and kills native plants and trees.
Rhododendron is purple flowering shrub which is an invasive species, smothering and killing native plants and trees. Its seeds spread very quickly and easily, making it hard to control.
"We are already seeing benefits"
Jez Martin, Biodiversity Project Officer, Borough of Poole said, “We are already seeing benefit from removing the Rhododendron with new growth in the area. There is also an area of ancient woodland which has been cleared, meaning that acorns, beech mast, Scots pine seeds, and hazel nuts have the chance of successfully germinating to new trees. Streams in the area have also benefitted from getting more light after the removal of the rhododendron, and the clearing of the area has allowed Borough of Poole to erect bat boxes upon the trees.”
"It is wonderful to see wildlife thriving in Arrowsmith Coppice"
Other wildlife sighted in the area include dragonflies, grey wagtail, butterflies, and roe deer.
Cllr John Rampton, Portfolio Holder for the Environment and Beaches, Borough of Poole, and member of Dorset Wildlife Trust, is extremely pleased with the progress at Arrowsmith Coppice. “It is wonderful to see the wildlife thriving in Arrowsmith Coppice since the removal of the rhododendron. We are so lucky in Poole to have such natural habitats, from the beaches to the heathlands and woodlands. The work done by Dorset Wildlife Trust and Borough of Poole staff and volunteers is vital to ensuring that are beautiful natural spaces continue to flourish.”
People and wildlife have benefitted
DWT’s Urban & East Dorset Living Landscapes Manager, Nicki Brunt said, “Not only has wildlife benefitted, but people have too, as the clearance means people can move more freely through the site to see oaks and beech trees and hear woodland and heathland birds. It’s amazing what a partnership project like The Great Heath can achieve, and we’re grateful to all the volunteers who have helped made this happen.”
Work is still ongoing, and the majority of the work by the contractor* should be finished next March. Clearance by volunteers in more sensitive areas will continue for a few more years. There will also be a requirement for spraying regrowth of the rhododendron that has already been cleared to prevent re-growth.
Find out more
Notes to Editor
*Contracting work was started initially by Honeybun Plant Hire Ltd and then Alaska Environmental Contracting. Contracting work started 3rd December 2014.
For more information please contact Sally Welbourn at Dorset Wildlife Trust on 01305 264620.
Working for a secure future for Dorset’s wildlife enriching the quality of life
Dorset Wildlife Trust works to champion wildlife and natural places, to engage and inspire people and to promote sustainable living. Founded in 1961, DWT is now the largest voluntary nature conservation organisation in Dorset, with over 25,000 members and over 40 nature reserves. Most are open daily and there are visitor centres providing a wealth of wildlife information at Brooklands Farm, Lorton Meadows, Kingcombe Meadows and Brownsea Island Nature Reserves, The Purbeck Marine Wildlife Reserve and the Urban Wildlife Centre at Upton Heath Nature Reserve. DWT plays a key role in dealing with local environmental issues and leads the way in establishing the practices of sustainable development and engaging new audiences in conservation, particularly in the urban areas.
The Great Heath Living Landscape an Urban Living Landscape in Dorset will deliver the following exciting objectives:
Sites include land at Hampreston and High Mead Lane, Award Road, Ferndown Common, Delph Wood, Arrowsmith Copse, Dunyeats Hill, Corfe Lodge Road, Upton Heath, Beacon Hill, Cottage Farm (Happy Bottom), Ashington Paddock, Barrow Hill, Wimborne Road, Rushcombe Bottom, Parley Common, Tricketts Cross, Lytchett Bay and Holes Bay.
The full Great Heath Living Landscape project will cost will be £4.7 million, we have already secured £2 million and have been awarded £2.7 million from the Heritage Lottery Fund and need to raise further funds by public appeal.
The Great Heath Living Landscape is a partnership project involving Dorset Wildlife Trust, the Erica Trust, Poole Harbour Commissioners, Borough of Poole, Dorset County Council Countryside Service, Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust. Partners also include Bournemouth Borough Council, Christchurch and East Dorset Councils and Natural England.
Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF)
Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported 36,000 projects with £6bn across the UK. For more information, please contact Katie Owen, HLF press office, on tel: 020 7591 6036/07973 613820.
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