As soon as we accessed our funding, our advisor Rob Hawke started his work on species data and mapping work. Luckily this work is office based and has been relatively unaffected by lockdown. So far, Rob has accumulated over 3.5 million plant and invertebrate records, over 100,000 of which comprise the 500+ rare, scarce and threatened dry-open habitat species that we are particularly interested in.
Collaborative effort to record Breckland wildlife species
This groundwork wouldn’t have been possible without the support of three local record centres (Norfolk Biodiversity Information Services, Suffolk Biodiversity Information Services, and the Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Environmental Records Centre), numerous national recording schemes, the Breckland Flora Group, Natural England, and many local recorders and naturalists who have generously denoted their records to this project either directly or indirectly. It’s thanks to biological recorders that projects like this are possible.
Linking species to habitat
Rob is now relating these 100,000 records to several important environmental considerations, such as landcover type, local climate, soil type, topography (slope and aspect), and proximity to semi-natural grassland. These relationships will allow us to predict where these margins could be placed across the landscape, and within each farm, to maximise wildlife benefits. For example, we may find that many of our target species are found on particularly chalky soils and south facing slopes. The model outputs are due to be ready by the end of October – so Rob has a busy month ahead!