Upton Heath SSSI - UPTON HEATH ESCARPMENT EAST (008)
Staff member responsible: SUE MOORE
Unit Id: 1005801
Unit area (ha): 56.7822
Unit Status: Live Gridref: SY 987 947
Main habitat: DWARF SHRUB HEATH - Lowland
Condition and Comments (click for history): Unfavourable - Declining Assessed by: SQUIRRELL, (NICK)
Last assessed: 13/03/2010 Last assessment field visit: 13/03/2010
ISA Survey: View Surveys
Date of last site check: Last CSM assessment: 13/03/2010
Estimated year unit will go Favourable: Confidence in estimate:
Reason for adverse condition: FRESHWATER POLLUTION - WATER POLLUTION - DISCHARGE,
Comment: A very large unit containing dry heath, humid heath and mire which requires both an increase in management levels and a reduction in the number of damaging fires to attain favourable condition. The dry heath is dominated by Calluna and is in recovering condition, but the humid heath, most referable to H4 Ulex gallii ? Agrostis curtisii heath, and in particular the mires require increased levels of management. The largest expanse of mire which extends towards the south-west corner of the unit is unfavourable due to being dominated by tall tussocks of Molinia with extensive leaf litter which smothers the ground between the tussocks and greatly reduces species diversity. In some areas here the cover of Molinia and its litter attains 100%. A smaller area of mire in the northern part of the unit was less overgrown and held frequent Sphagna, and eight Snipe were seen here during the site visit. Grazing by hardy livestock would be the ideal management for the unit, benefiting in particular the mires and the humid heath, and the grazed vegetation is likely to be less susceptible to damaging fires. Urban effects remain a cause for concern which are not remedied as well as disturbance to birds and nutrient enrichment there are frequent large arson events, motorcycling and vandalism events ongoing.
Number of adverse condition reasons: 3
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